SEPANG: A human smuggling syndicate comprising Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and Malaysia Airports Bhd officials has been busted with the arrest of four people including a Sri Lankan who sought its services.
The syndicate, with links to outside groups supplying illegal workers, had been operating for several months and is believed to have raked in a substantial amount of money.
Using daily security passes, the syndicate smuggled illegal immigrants in and out of the KL International Airport for between RM500 and RM1,000 each, depending on the destination.
Airport security officials said that a member of the syndicate issued daily passes, which are given to airport workers and contractors, to those being “smuggled” to enable them to reach the satellite building.
“The syndicate carries out a group check-in for the workers with genuine tickets and forged passports in order to obtain the boarding passes.
“The workers are then given the daily passes to enter the satellite building where the international flights depart from. This is done to bypass the Immigration checks to avoid the forged passports from being detected.
“Once there, they are given the passports and boarding passes to get on the aircraft,” he said.
(Daily passes are issued by Malaysia Airports to those wishing to enter restricted areas to meet people or collect goods without having to go through Customs and Immigration checks.
A person, who is charged RM1 for each tag, is also required to wear a wristband and is usually accompanied by a Malaysia Airports personnel. The colour for the wristbands is changed daily for security reasons.)
Police uncovered the syndicate's activities when the two Malaysia Airports and one MAS personnel were escorting out the Sri Lankan when he failed to get his boarding pass and passport and could not proceed with his journey.
“They immediately arrested all four,” a source said.
Sepang OCPD Supt Zahedi Ayob confirmed the arrest of the four, three of whom were working at the airport, adding that the suspects were in their 20s.
A MAS security official said those arrested were on the payroll of the syndicate.
“This is one of the rare times where security personnel have been found to be collaborating with such syndicates,” he said.
The official said “human smuggling” was a lucrative business, generating millions of ringgit for syndicates, which have agents in almost every major airport in Asia.
“So far, local airport authorities have been unable to wipe out their activities because the masterminds are usually based in foreign airports.
“Many of them keep in touch with local agents through cellular phones,” he said.
The official said that in most cases, the illegal foreign workers – usually from Sri Lanka, China, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan – would use KLIA as a transit point before leaving for other developed nations.
“The services of such syndicates are also used by foreign workers who overstay in the country. The duty of the airport staff is over once the illegals are brought to the satellite building as another syndicate will supply them with fake documents,” he said.
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