The beggar cartel was masterminded by a Burmese national who conned his compatriots and coerced them to beg in the Malaysian capital and several nearby townships.
Malaysian police busted the syndicate, known to have been active in the country for six months, and arrested two drivers and two guards. But the Burmese national mastermind and several middlemen were at large.
Authorities have rescued 18 Burmese beggars, including four persons with disabilities, following two crackdowns conducted in different places.
One of the 18 victims is a young woman who carries her less-than-one-year-old baby boy. The woman didn’t get the job promised by the syndicate, instead she was forced to beg with her child.
Police also identified another baby girl who was brought to Malaysia by a friend of her parents in Burma. Authorities are investigating whether the toddler was kidnapped and smuggled to Malaysia.
According to a Malaysian daily, China Press, investigators busted the syndicate on Sept 2 after a tip-off that a foreign beggar, believed to be a victim of human trafficking, was begging at a night market in Puchong, a township in the State of Selangor. A 23-year-old disabled Burmese man was rescued during the operation.
On the following morning, Malaysian police launched another crackdown on a house in Petaling Jaya, not far from Kuala Lumpur, and rescued another 17 beggars, including two toddlers.
The syndicate, which was operated by Burmese nationals, hired Malaysian drivers to send the victims to beg at different locations. The drivers also guarded the beggars and prevented them from fleeing. - Reporting by Thomas Chong, from Kuala Lumpur