Four Chinese men and women have been arrested for allegedly locking up four Indonesian women who worked at a factory in Penang, Malaysia.

Malaysian police received a citizen’s report at 10:40am on Tuesday of workers suspected to have been illegally imprisoned at their workplace, which produces pillowcases, in Machang Bubok, Sin Chew Daily (Malaysia) reported.

Officers arrived at the factory at 11:20am to find all doors were locked, the Central Seberang Perai district police chief ACP Nik Ros Azhan Nik Abdul Hamid said.

During the raid, the police found three frightened Indonesian women, aged 21, 22 and 25, hiding inside a toilet on the third floor. One of them handed out a piece of scrap paper with a message scribbled in Indonesian: “Ibu, tolongsaya, saya mau lari (Madam, help me, I want to run)”.

A total of four Chinese men and women, aged from 21 to 66, including a man found to have withheld the three victims’ passports, were found and arrested by the police for allegedly violating section 12 of the 2007 Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act (ATIPSOM).

The mother of the factory owner and a man who was an agent for migrant workers came to the unit to assist the police investigation.