ASP told not to investigate after first body was found.
A witness in the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) into the human trafficking camps and graves in Wang Kelian today said he was told to stop investigations following the discovery of a body in one of the graves on a hill in Wang Burma.
ASP Junaidy Md Saad, who was the acting head of the Criminal Investigation Department at the Padang Besar district police headquarters from 2014 to 2016, said he received the instruction from the district police chief himself.
Junaidy, the 11th witness in the inquiry, said he was the investigating officer in a case reported by ASP Joeking Marian Anthony on Jan 22, 2015, regarding 38 illegal immigrants detained in a raid at the Wang Burma hill and the grave-like structures found near the camp.
He said that was the first time he had heard of such a case.
According to him, he was told by his superior on Jan 23, 2015, to visit the area for surveillance, to get a rough layout of the landscape, to look out for the grave structures, and to take photographs of the site.
He said he did not continue investigating after that as he was awaiting further instructions from his superiors.
A month and a half later in March, he said, he was instructed by the district police chief to re-visit the site with a forensic team from the Perlis police headquarters.
“On March 6, 2015, I and a forensic team from the Perlis state police headquarters, which was led by Inspector Bahar and I, alongside officials from the Special Branch, and the Padang Besar district police chief himself, visited the site.
“Before we went up, there was a talk given by the then-district police chief, saying that the mission was to dig out one of the grave-like structures to confirm if they really contained bodies.”
He said the forensic team had dug approximately 30cm into one of the structures before he saw a white cloth like the kind usually used to wrap dead bodies. He said the cloth was still in good condition while the body had started decomposing although it remained intact.
Junaidy said the forensic team had reburied the body after taking photographs of it.
“The mission was to see if there was a body in the grave or not,” he said. “If there was, the instruction given was to rebury the body.”
Junaidy, who is currently based in Kedah as Pendang police headquarters Crime Prevention and Community Safety Division chief, said the forensic members then marked the 34 grave-like structures with forensic numbers for further action.
He said upon instructions received from Padang Besar district police chief, a Sudden Death Report (SDR) was opened on March 8 for a post-mortem to identify the cause of death.
“Following that date, I did not conduct any investigation or follow-ups after being instructed by the district police chief, until I was called by Bukit Aman to meet the Deputy Inspector-General of Police on May 11, 2015,” he said.
Junaidy said he first suspected elements of crime and human trafficking after interviewing and recording statements from the 38 immigrants detained by Joeking’s team at the foot of Wang Burma hill.
With the help of a translator who spoke both Myanmarese and Bangladeshi, he said, he found that most of them were brought to the area by other individuals. However, they did not tell him how many individuals were involved.
They also told him they came in a boat which could fit 300 people and had stayed at the temporary camp for four to five days.
He said the translator was a Myanmarese who had married a local. When asked if the translator could be part of the syndicate, he said he was not sure.
When questioned by former IGP Norian Mai, who is also the RCI deputy chairman, as to why no immediate action was taken when intuition should have told him that this was a criminal case, Junaidy said he could not take matters into his own hands as this was a big case and he had no experience in handling such cases.
Junaidy also informed the inquiry that the case which was initially classified as a police inquiry paper was investigated under Section 26A of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti- Smuggling of Migrants (ATIPSOM) Act 2007 after his meeting with the Deputy IGP on May 11, 2015.
According to him, IGP Khalid Abu Bakar later launched an operation codenamed ‘Op Wawasan Khas’ on May 25, 2015, for a thorough inspection to be carried out at the Bukit Wang Burma and Genting Perah areas and the operation was conducted entirely by Bukit Aman.
He said subsequently ‘Op Wawasan Khas 2’ was mounted on August 16, 2015, during which the remains of 106 victims were discovered adding that some of the remains were found in a detention shack.
Apr 22, Wang Kelian RCI: Day Three
Apr 17, Wang Kelian RCI: Day One