SPECIAL REPORT

PHUKET: Human traffickers have kept hundreds of Rohingya Muslims captive in houses in northern Malaysia, beating them, depriving them of food, and demanding a ransom from their families, according to detailed accounts by the victims.

The accounts given to Reuters suggest that trafficking gangs are shifting their operations into Malaysia as Thai authorities crack down on jungle camps near the border that have become a prison for the Muslim asylum seekers fleeing persecution in Myanmar.

Police in the northern Malaysian states of Penang and Kedah have conducted several raids on the houses in recent months, including an operation in February that discovered four Rohingya men bound together with metal chains in an apartment.

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