NIBONG TEBAL – Six of the 528 Rohingya detainees who escaped from the Sungai Bakap Immigration Detention Depot died on the spot after being hit by vehicles while crossing the southbound North-South Expressway near Jawi early today.
Penang Police chief Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain the six detainees who perished in the 6.50 am incident comprised two men, two women, a boy and a girl.
“When they saw the accident that killed their countrymen, 229 other detainees decided not to cross the highway for fear of suffering the same fate.
“So they just walked along the highway, not knowing where to go after escaping the immigration depot,” he told reporters at the scene.
Mohd Shuhaily said all of them were recaptured after members of the public who saw them alerted the police.
It was reported that the 528 Rohingya detainees escaped the immigration depot at 4.30 am today.
Mohd Shuhaily said the operations to find the detainees were launched immediately after the police received the report.
“There were 664 Rohingya detainees at the depot and 528 of them escaped…we managed to recapture 229 of them along the highway, while 88 others were recaptured earlier by villagers and Immigration Department personnel not far from the depot,” he said.
He said the Penang police were in the midst of locating 205 other detainees, who also include children and senior citizens, believed to still be in Penang.
“The police would like to thank the public, especially a group of young people who helped channel the information on the detainees’ whereabouts when they were spotted near the highway.
“In terms of further investigations, it will be led by the Kedah Police Contingent and the Kedah Police chief will be giving the details and latest information on the case,” he said.
Mohd Shuhaily also called on the public with information or who have spotted the detainees in their areas to keep channelling the information to the police.