Malaysia rescues 34 Rohingya refugees who were abandoned 500 m from the beach by human traffickers.  (Photo: New Straits Times)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – Villagers at Malaysia’s Sungai Belati beach found weak, hungry, and disheveled Myanmar refugees – including children from as young as seven – arriving at shore on March 1, the New Straits Times reported.

The 34 Rohingya refugees, including nine children, were believed to have been taken by sea to Malaysia and abandoned 500 m from the beach by human traffickers who left them to trawl up the muddy coast.

Local villagers alongside staff from Perlis Power Plant Sdn Bhd and the Malaysian Civil Defence Force tried to help them to the shore safely.

 “They were given bread and packet drinks. They do not speak Bahasa Malaysia. They looked so hungry, we believe they had not eaten anything for two days during the journey,” a villager said.

On February 28, Harian Metro disclosed that immigrants from Bangladesh, Myanmar, and the Rohingya Muslim ethnic community were smuggled into the country and entered via routes believed to be located near Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah, and Wang Kelian in Perlis.

They were believed to have been charged between 5,000 MYR and 16,000 MYR (1,200-3,900 USD) by the syndicate and were kept inside an abandoned factory in Napoh, Jitra as a transit point before being taken to Penang to seek employment opportunities. –VNA