PUTRAJAYA — May 8, 2019: A press photographer today related how easy it was for him to cross the border into Malaysia from Thailand in May 2015 because all he had to do was to get over a thigh-high wire fencing.
According to Malay Mail photographer Mohd. Sayuti Zainuddin, he and former colleague S. Arulldas, together with two Thais who were their news sources and guides, had to try and locate the Wang Kelian immigrant transit camps from Thailand after their attempts via Malaysia failed.
From Padang Besar the four travelled in a four-wheel drive for an hour to a farm at Ban Talok, Sadao.
On reaching the place they walked uphill for 45 minutes until they came to border milestone written in Thai. That was where they found the fencing.
Sayuti recalled that not far from the fencing they reached a river which was believed to be the place where the immigrants would stop for a bath or drink.
A short distance from the river the group found found five grave-like structures covered with leaves and appeared to be a newly dug burial site at Bukit Genting Perah, Wang Kelian.
At today’s proceedings, Sayuti was shown a photograph which he confirmed he had taken when trying to enter Malaysia through Thailand.
In his testimony, Arulldas said that from March to early May 2015 he made six attempts to track the camps through Malaysia but failed.
“I was afraid to ask local residents as they could be agents of smuggling syndicates,” he said.
He inadvertently learned about the Wang Kelian mass graves and camps while working on a special report on the increasing number of murders where foreigners had their throats slit before their bodies were dumped around Seberang Perai in late 2014 and early 2015.
When asked which route was easier to get to the camps, Arulldas considered the route via Thailand as easier and this seemed to be the normal route used by others.
The public hearing continues tomorrow. — Bernama