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Malaysian police have detained 15 suspects in an ongoing investigation into the grisly murder of five Burmese migrant workers outside the factory where they worked in Kuala Lumpur.
According to a Burmese civil society group based in the Malaysian capital, one of those detained is the owner of the factory.
San Win of Kepong Free Funeral Services told DVB that police on 12 January had detained 15 suspects between the ages of 19 and 50, including the former employer of the victims.
“The police detained 15 suspects on 12 January including the employer,” he said. “According to Burmese workers at the factory, the victims had previously lodged a complaint with the boss about a case of theft in the workplace. It seems the police are speculating that the employer was colluding with the thieves to silence the complainants.”
The police have also detained seven individuals from Burma in connection with the case.
On 5 January, four masked man armed with swords attacked a group of Burmese workers as they were walking home from their workplace, a factory in Serdan, south of Kuala Lumpur. Five of the workers died– four at the scene and one later in hospital – and two others were injured.
According to the Malaysia-based New Straits Times, the Selangor state police’s Criminal Investigation Department said the murder suspects have been remanded for six days for questioning.
The Burmese embassy in Kuala Lumpur last week issued safety instructions to Burmese workers in Malaysia. The Burmese President’s Office Deputy-director Zaw Htay told DVB on 7 January that Naypyidaw was also working to provide the necessary assistance and ensure security for Burmese migrants in Malaysia.
There are currently around half a million Burmese migrants in Malaysia, a majority working in factories in industrial zones around the country.