KOTA BHARU, March 12 -- Malaysia Border Control Agency (AKSEM) personnel nabbed 31 illegal immigrants from Thailand and Myanmar in two instances in Tanah Merah yesterday as they were being transported in tour buses.
They also detained the two Malaysian drivers of the buses in the ‘Op Benteng’ operation against illegal immigrants, Kelantan AKSEM commander Rusli Karim said in a statement today.
It could not be immediately ascertained if the illegal immigrants were travelling in tour buses to escape detection now that the government has allowed tourist travel between certain states in tour buses.
The first of the buses, carrying 14 Thai men aged between 30 and 50, was stopped at a roadblock in Lalang Pepuyu at 2.30 pm as they were on their way to Teluk Intan, Perak, to be employed in the fisheries sector, he said.
AKSEM received information that they had smuggled themselves into the country via an illegal jetty in Sungai Golok, he said, adding that the 30-year-old Malaysian driver of the bus was also detained.
Rusli said the second bus, carrying 17 Myanmar men, was stopped at a roadblock in Kampung Belimbing at 11.30 pm in an operation conducted jointly with the Immigration Department. The 40-year-old Malaysian driver was also held.
“These immigrants were being taken from Klang, Selangor, to the Malaysia-Thailand border. Some of them had passports but they had entered the country illegally and their visit pass had expired,” he said.
Rusli said it is believed that an organised syndicate handled the entry of the illegal immigrants and their journey from Klang to Kelantan and that this is being investigated.
He also said that the two bus drivers were being detained under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act (ATIPSOM) 2007 Act and the 31 illegal immigrants under the Immigration Act 1959/63 Amendment 2002.
“The illegal immigrant cases will be handed over to the Kelantan Immigration Department for further action,” he said.
Pejabat Strategik Nasional Majlis Antipemerdagangan Orang dan Antipengeludupan Migran (MAPO)
Kementerian Dalam Negeri
Aras 2, Blok D7, Kompleks D,
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan