By Praveen Menon
WANG KELIAN, Malaysia (Reuters) - Malaysia's police chief said on Monday that 139 graves believed to contain the remains of migrants were found near the country's border with Thailand, and that some graves contained more than one body.
The graves were found at 28 suspected human trafficking camps located around 500 metres (550 yards) from the border in northern Malaysia, said Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar.
"The operation which we have been conducting from May 11 to May 23 we discovered 139 of what we believe are graves," Khalid told reporters.
He added that one grave site was about 100 metres from a mass grave discovered in Thailand earlier this month.
"The first team of our officers has arrived in the area this morning to exhume the bodies," said Khalid.
Malaysia's Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said on Sunday officials were determining whether the graves were of human trafficking victims.
At least 26 bodies were exhumed from the mass grave in Thailand that was discovered earlier this month. It was near a camp with suspected links to human trafficking.
Southeast Asia is grappling with a humanitarian crisis involving thousands of people trafficked from Myanmar and Bangladesh into Malaysia and Indonesia through Thailand.
More than 3,000 migrants, most of them from Myanmar and Bangladesh, have landed on boats in Malaysia and Indonesia this month after a crackdown on trafficking in Thailand.
The Thai crackdown appears to have disrupted smuggling routes and had a knock-on effect with many migrants now stuck at sea on what the United Nations has described as 'floating coffins'.
(Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)