New Delhi — Around the middle of this month, workers at Malaysia’s Port Klang were surprised to hear knocking from inside one of the shipping containers that had just come off a ship from Bangladesh. When they opened it, they were even more surprised to see a young boy step out.
He couldn’t speak the local language, so the port workers couldn’t figure out who he was or how he ended up inside the container. They alerted law enforcement agencies, which immediately suspected it was a case of human trafficking.
“He was the only one found in the container. A police report was lodged and as he was having a fever, he was taken for medical examination,” Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, Malaysia’s Home Minister, was quoted as saying by the country’s national news agency Bernama.
The boy was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where he remained under medical treatment. Before too long, an investigation revealed the boy was a 15-year-old from Chittagong, Bangladesh, about 1,600 miles away.
According to various news reports, the boy, whom officials identified only as Fahim, had chosen the shipping container as a hiding place during a game of hide-and-seek with friends, but accidentally locked himself in.
The container was loaded onto the Malaysia-bound vessel and the ship started its journey on January 11 from Chittagong, reaching Port Klang in Malaysia on January 17, the day he was discovered.
Photos and videos of Fahim, looking weak and confused after arriving in Malaysia, have appeared online.
The Malaysian police’s investigation ruled out the human trafficking theory.
“Investigations found no elements of human trafficking. The boy is just believed to have entered the container, fell asleep and found himself here,” the Malaysian home minister said earlier this month.
Malaysia’s government started the administrative process of getting Fahim back home last week, and there were reports that he could even make the return journey to Bangladesh aboard the same vessel — not inside a shipping container, of course.
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