Police SOP for evidence collected at campsites not followed, Wang Kelian RCI told

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
Witness Mohd Mossadique Azni appears before the Wang Kelian Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) in Putrajaya April 17, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

PUTRAJAYA, April 17 — Police Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) were overlooked and breached during initial survey operations in Wang Burma, the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into human trafficking and mass graves in Wang Kelian heard today.

The third and fourth witness, Inspector Mohd Mossadique Azni, 37, and Assistant Superintendent Azizie Mohd, 39, explained how proper documentation was not filed immediately after items were seized from the campsites.

Mohd Mossadique said he was handed seized items such as a notebook with Thai writing, a Thai driver’s licence, a Nokia phone, three SIM cards, a VCD player and several CDs, and decided to hold on to them.

The items, he said, were seized from survey operations in Wang Burma on January 19, 2015, where the network of camps was discovered by officers.

Mohd Mossadique, who was the Battalion 3 platoon commander at that time, explained that he held on to the items so that they could be given to Azizie later, who was a General Operations Force (PGA) protocol compliance officer.

Examined by a conducting officer, Khairul Anuar Abd Halim, Mohd Mossadique later admitted that under normal circumstances, a case evidence handover form would have been issued together with the seized items.

The trafficking campsites were said to have been found near the summit of Wang Burma, a hill located around 10km from the Wang Kelian police post, an area within its jurisdiction.

Witnesses ASP Azizie Mohd (left) leaves the courtroom after appearing before the Wang Kelian Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) in Putrajaya April 17, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

Azizie, in his testimony later, said he had received the items from Mohd Mossadique about nine days after they were seized, admitting that they did not come with accompanying documents.

He explained to the court that he was at that time based at the Perak PGA tactical headquarters, and made the trip to Padang Besar as part of his ethics compliance checks.

He said that before arriving in Padang Besar, an “Inspector Shah” had asked for his assistance to retrieve seized items from the Wang Kelian camps if there were any.

“I then received the items from Mohd Mossadique, as he said he had no secure place to store them and asked for my help.

“Once I received them, I handed them to the Special Branch division the next day, who was an officer with Padang Besar Special Branch,” he told the inquiry, adding this time there were accompanying documents to go with the confiscated items.

The inquiry resumes tomorrow at 9.30am.

The RCI is headed by former chief justice Tun Arifin Zakaria with former inspector-general of police Tan Sri Norian Mai as deputy chairman.

The other members of the panel are former head of prosecution at the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) Datuk Noorbahri Baharuddin; former Human Rights Commission chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail; former head of research at the AGC Datuk Junaidah Abdul Rahman; former Malaysian Ambassador to Thailand Datuk Nazirah Hussin; and former Public Accounts Committee deputy chairman Dr Tan Seng Giaw.

In 2015, some 147 graves with 130 human skeletons were found at human trafficking transit camps in Wang Kelian, leading to the arrest of 44 foreigners.

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