31 including foreigners caught for illegal mining of rare earth elements in Perak

For illustration purpose. The Malaysian forest areas has become a target for the crime of illegal rare earth elements mining.

IPOH, Dec 13 (Bernama) — A total of 31 people, including two women, one each from Vietnam and Myanmar, were arrested for alleged illegal mining of ore deposits containing non-radioactive rare earth elements (NR-REE) at the Bintang Hijau Forest Reserve in Hulu Perak.

Perak police chief Datuk Seri Mohd Yusri Hassan Basri said it conducted several raids, with cooperation of the Perak State Forestry Department (JPNPk) through Op Khazanah, at several locations.

He said 28 people were arrested in one raid carried out at the Bintang Hijau Forest Reserve at about 3.30pm on Dec 8.

“Nine of them were locals and the rest were foreigners. We also made follow-up arrests of three more suspects, one local and two foreigners at other locations,” he said.

He said the detained foreigners aged 23 to 69 included 16 Chinese men, three Myanmar men and one Myanmar woman and one Vietnamese woman.

“All the foreigners involved did not have valid travel documents and police have opened investigation papers under Section 6 (1) (c) and Section 55B of the Immigration Act 1959/63 (Act 155),” he said.

He said the local suspects were remanded for three days while the foreigners will be remanded for 14 days under Section 51 (5) (B) of the Immigration Act 1959/63.

The Forestry Department will file separate charges for offences under the National Forestry Act 1984 (Act 313), he said.