Villagers arranging caskets containing the remains of human trafficking victims dug up from mass graves in Wang Kelian, in Kampung Tualang, Pokok Sena, in June 2015. The mass graves were discovered on Jan 19, 2015, and not May 24 that year, as was announced during a press conference by police. FILE PIC

KUALA LUMPUR: Police will investigate any and all new leads in the 2015 Wang Kelian human trafficking tragedy, following the expose by the New Straits Times Special Probes Team yesterday.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said “the file is still open. We have not closed it because we want to find the perpetrators”.

He said police had been relentless in hunting down the perpetrators behind what is the biggest crime against humanity in the country’s history.

“The police will collate and investigate all new leads, including those exposed by the NST Special Probes Team.

“We will follow up on what the NST has highlighted and any other new leads.

“At the same time, we will review all the information we have, and investigate,” he told the NST.

The NST yesterday ran on its cover, its Special Probes Team’s four-page expose, which unearthed the dark secrets of Wang Kelian that had laid buried for more than two years.

The tragedy claimed the lives of no less than 150 migrants, mostly from Rakhine State, who were desperate for a second chance at life.

Among the damning discoveries from the team’s exhaustive two-year investigation were that the mass graves in the quiet hills of Wang Kelian in Perlis were discovered on Jan 19, 2015, and not May 24, as was announced during a press conference by police on May 25.

This announcement was made soon after the Thais found similar graves and squalid human trafficking camps on their side of the border on May 1, 2015.

This newspaper questioned why police had sent out hundreds of men, including commandos, up the hill on May 11 to “search” for similar camps on this side of the border when there were already photographic evidence and reports from the Jan 19 and March 13, 2015, discoveries of these camps and mass graves, filed by their own men.

The NST exposé also highlighted the glaring discrepancies in reports filed by those involved in the discovery, including those regarding syndicate members that were picked up during those operations.

The then-inspector-general of police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar had told the NST in a one-on-one interview why he had to say what he said in the past, but asked that it not be reported.

The team presented its findings to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who ordered that investigations into the case be revisited.

He vowed that “those with direct or indirect involvement in the case will be made to pay for the crime”.

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