KUALA LUMPUR: They are handicapped but earned between RM500 and RM1,000 a day, with a taxi at their beck and call.
They were not high-flying executives in multinational companies but a band of beggars brought in from China to beg.
Their activities came to light when one of them lodged a police report recently, claiming that he was being held against his will and made to beg.
Police formed a special team and watched the group for several days before moving in on Wednesday.
They arrested seven handicapped men, between the ages of 27 and 38, and a local taxi driver.
City police chief Datuk Mohmad Salleh said police stopped the taxi at 3am on Wednesday in Jalan Pudu, arresting the driver and four beggars. Three more beggars were detained at a budget hotel nearby.
The seven came to the country on social visit passes three months ago.
“Our investigations show that some of them were forced to beg while some willingly did it as it was easy money.
“What was collected was shared among them while the syndicate leader, believed to be a local, also took a percentage of their collections,” Mohmad said.
Police learnt the syndicate chartered a taxi to ferry the beggars to various locations here to beg.
It is learnt that the mastermind had “recruited” the disabled men in China.
Upon arrival here, their passports were confiscated and they were forced to beg.
Police are looking for the mastermind who escaped the dragnet. - NST