KOTA KINABALU: Police rescued four teenagers including a boy aged between 15 and 18 years old who were victims of human trafficking by a syndicate masterminded a local couple.

All victims said they were duped using WeChat social media application, being promised jobs as restaurant waitresses before being forced to become sex workers.

The teens said they were kept in a house in a Putatan village, and would be beaten if they tried to run away or refuse orders from the couple, aged 22 and 30 years old.

District police chief Assistant Commissioner M Chandra said the success came following a raid at an entertainment outlet at Cyber City, Jalan Lintas, on Feb 7.

The three underage girls working as Guest Relations Officers admitted that they were exploited by the syndicate for prostitution, leading to the police raiding the house at Putatan and detaining the two suspects.

“Police then rescued the 16-year-old boy in the house, also exploited by the syndicate," he told a press conference at the district police station here.

Chandra said both suspects were now remanded for investigations under Section 14 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2007 (offence of trafficking in children).

In a separate case, a family of nine including an 11-year-old boy were detained when discovered to be active in stealing from supermarkets around the state capital over the past few months.

Their actions were recorded in close circuit television (CCTV) recordings which led to their arrest during raids in three houses at Telipok settlement here on Saturday.

“Following interrogations, the police raided a premises in Tuaran, detaining two Pakistani traders aged 24 and 48 years old, believed to have been purchasing stolen items from the group.

"The police also seized various items like clothing, detergent, fragrance, electrical appliances and food products suspected to be linked to their criminal activities with estimated market worth of RM8,000,” he added.

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Police rescued four teenagers including a boy aged between 15 and 18 years old who were victims of human trafficking by a syndicate masterminded a local couple. (NSTP/EDMUND SAMUNTING)

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