By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, Feb 7: Julau MP Larry Sng is urging the Ministry of Home Affairs to prioritise bringing home the 44 Sarawakians youths held by the Cambodian authorities since December last year.
He said the 44 Sarawakians and three other Malaysian who were being held at a Cambodian provincial jail, some 446km from the capital Phnom Penh, since December last year were being held without trial and without the Malaysian Embassy being informed.
The matter was only made known to some of their parents about a month ago when news of their arrests was published in local Cambodian news.
“We want to alert (others) and highlight the unfortunate plight of 47 young Malaysians — 44 are Sarawakians, from poor families — who are victims of a human trafficking scam and are being held in a Cambodian provincial jail without trial and without the Malaysian Embassy being informed.
“Aged between 18 and 20, they were promised high-paying jobs by the scammers in exchange of about US$200. Upon their arrival in Cambodia they were housed in a private home. After a few weeks, no jobs were forthcoming and they felt restless. Then the police came to arrest them for illegal online gaming. They denied it.
“They were held for a week in a lock-up and then transferred to a provincial jail 446km from the capital on Dec 16 till now. Some of their families have gone to Cambodia to find out where they are. A check with the Malaysian Embassy did not reveal their arrests or whereabouts.
“They have not been brought to a court of law to be charged or to be remanded. One of the parents found out their whereabouts. Shortly, a news item was published about them in the Cambodian local press. It seems that they could be held without charges by the police for up to three years,” Sng told reporters at a press conference here today.
One of the captives’ parents who was at the press conference, refused to speak to reporters.
Sng said Wisma Putra is in the midst of communicating with the Cambodian government on dealing with the case, although he said not much details were made known at the moment as this is a government to government (G2G) matter.
He said the Sarawak side will form a group consisting of him and some Dayak leaders to assist Wisma Putra to hasten the process of bringing the detained Sarawakians back home safely.
Sng gave assurance that officers from the Malaysian Embassy there had visited the detained Malaysians recently, and they were in good condition. — DayakDaily