Police nab serial burglar suspected of human trafficking

Crime: A 29-year-old man arrested for a series of burglaries is also suspected to have been involved in human trafficking.

Thimphu police carried out a massive manhunt after they found that a suspect, who had his face covered, wearing gloves and carrying a bag, was captured on a CCTV camera on June 27.

“We studied the modus operandi of the cases reported and found that in many cases the door latch was forcefully broken,” a police official said.

On July 19, a security guard with the economic affairs ministry called the police help line 113 at around 1am to inform that he saw an unidentified man lurking in the office.

The man had left when the police arrived. The suspect was, however, arrested from Norling building in Changangkha.

The man had an iron rod, two screwdrivers, a knife, a pair of gloves and a mask in a laptop bag that the man was carrying.

The police later learned that the man was arrested in Singapore in April 2013 for breaking into houses and restaurants and also for overstaying his visa. The man was sentenced to a prison term of four years and three months.

The man was deported to Bhutan and handed over to his aunt on March 1 after serving a prison term of about three years at the Admiralty West Prison in Singapore.

After completing class 12 from a private school in Thimphu, the man went to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore looking for a job. He worked as a waiter at a restaurant in Singapore.

The man confessed that he was involved in nine burglary cases where he stole goods worth Nu 1.1 million.

The offices that the suspect looted include Bhutan Trust Fund, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Natural Resources Development Corporation Ltd, regional revenue and customs office and offices located at the 8-eleven building in Thimphu, among others.

The man told police that he lives in Gaselo, Wangdue.

Police recovered some stolen items from the suspect’s rented apartment in Taba on July 20.

“We are investigating the case and it is suspected that he is involved in more burglary cases in the city,” said a police official.

It was found that the suspect had conversed with a Malaysian man through Facebook where he agreed to send two Bhutanese women to Malaysia. He had also made passports for the two women. Pictures of the women, sisters, were shared with his foreign counterpart.

The man told the police that he met the 22-year-old woman at a Karaoke in Thimphu where she worked as a waitress. He offered the woman a job opportunity in Singapore and promised her free travel expenses, pocket money, food and accommodation. The woman’s sister was also hooked in.

The man had planned to take the women to Malaysia instead of Singapore. He had also planned to take the women to Singapore and Jakarta, make money, and then bring the women back to Johor, a state in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the women, who are currently in Samtse and Samdrupjongkhar, are being called to Thimphu for further investigation.

Dechen Tshomo

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