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Kidnapped Bangladeshi journalist in Malaysia recounts ‘ordeal’

Staff Reporter:

A Bangladeshi journalist has alleged that his investigative work in exposing a foreign workers’ syndicate operated by his countrymen in Malaysia had resulted in his abduction and torture in early November.

His kidnappers also demanded a RM1.9 million ransom for his release, he alleged, but he was freed three days later after they found out that police were closing in on them, reports Free Malaysia (FMT).

The journalist, who asked not to be named for fear of repercussions, said his ordeal began when three plainclothes officers claiming to be from Bukit Aman went to his house near Putrajaya at midnight on 7 November and told him he was wanted for questioning over a report lodged against him.

“I asked them to show me the report and they said ‘wait, our boss will show you’. They then took me in their car,” he told FMT.

However, he said, the men handed him over to four men, who drove him to an oil palm estate near Klang.

“In the jungle, there were seven to eight people, who started to beat me. They asked how I got information on the syndicate. They cut my hand with a knife, kicked me in the chest, and hit me in the head, saying ‘you’re smart’,” he alleged.

The journalist, in his 30s, who has been based in Malaysia for the past six years, said he was then brought to a house near Kapar where he was beaten “every hour.”

He claimed that two Bangladeshi men had used local residents to assault him. “They stood there and watched.”

He said the beating only stopped when he agreed to cooperate with them and gave them “whatever they wanted,” including his savings of nearly RM50,000.

He said his abductors were upset that he had asked “tough questions” to several Bangladeshi labour agents in a live TV programme. “I had evidence of their wrongdoing. I suspect they had sent people to attack me.”

The journalist, who freelances for major TV outlets in Bangladesh, said his ordeal ended three days later when his captors got wind that the police were on the way. He added that they got him an e-hailing ride before they fled.

“I then took a ride to the police station.”

The journalist said he had been working on a story about a syndicate that had led to many Bangladeshis coming to Malaysia to eke out a living, only to be detained and have their passports seized.

“I was trying to expose this syndicate so people don’t get duped,” he said.

On Thursday, Bernama reported that Kuala Lumpur police had suspended one of its officers over the incident. Two more policemen from the federal territory were also being investigated.

KL police chief Allaudeen Abdul Majid said they are awaiting further developments as the case is also being investigated by the Selangor police.

The journalist said he was still recovering from injuries to his head and body, which he had sustained during his ordeal.

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