Abu Bakar Sidek checking the identities of one of the GRO's detained.
MALACCA: About 30 immigration officers were holed up for two hours at an entertainment outlet in Melaka Raya on Wednesday after they were surrounded by about 100 thugs.
They eventually managed to take 35 foreigners, including 34 women, with them out of the three-storey building under tight police cordon at about 7pm, said Malacca Immigration Department acting director Abu Bakar Sidek Hassan.
He said the immigration officers, including 23 members of the Special Tactical Group could not leave the building until 15 policemen from the Bandar Hilir station arrived at the scene.
"Several thugs were seen taking the registration numbers of vehicles belonging to the immigration officers during the stand-off.
“I feared that they have an ulterior motive," he told reporters at the Home Ministry Complex on Thursday.
He said several drunk clients also questioned the immigration officers for detaining the guest relation officers (GROs) aged between 18 and 35 comprising 33 Vietnamese women and a Chinese woman.
The Chinese woman in her 30s is married to a local while a 35-year-old Vietnamese woman acted as a pimp, he said, adding that a 26-year-old Bangladeshi who worked at the premises was also arrested.
Abu Bakar said the GROs were brought to the entertainment outlet in small groups to avoid detection and they could leave with clients who hired their services.
He said 13 of the Vietnamese women and the Chinese woman allegedly had violated their working permits, visit passes or boundary passes while 20 Vietnamese women and the Bangladeshi man entered the country illegally.
They were taken to the Machap Umboo Immigration Detention Depot, he said.
Abu Bakar said the raid, which started at about 3pm culminated after a three-day surveillance. - Bernama