PUTRAJAYA: Three foreigners working for local companies supplying foreign workers have been arrested for having in their possession the passports of over 550 foreign workers.
A team of Immigration officials, led by deputy immigration director (investigation) Ludin Yusof, raided three companies and arrested an Indonesian, a Vietnamese and a Bangladeshi, all men.
The Indonesian and Vietnamese were also found to have been working in these companies without valid permits.
Immigration enforcement director Datuk Ishak Mohamed said the department raided the three premises last week following complaints by a group of Vietnamese workers that they had not seen their passports after working in Malaysia for two years.
On checking with their employers, we were informed that the agents supplying the workers were still holding the passports, he told reporters here yesterday.
According to him, the Indonesian was arrested in Cheras for violating his tourist visa and being in possession of 209 foreign passports, while the Vietnamese, who had come in as a construction worker, was found in possession of 218 foreign passports in Kuchai Lama.
The Bangladeshi man was detained in Batu Caves for possessing 139 passports.
For violating their visa conditions under the Immigration Act, the Indonesian and Vietnamese can be fined RM1,000 or jailed up to six months or both.
Ishak said the owners of the companies could be charged under the Act for hiring a worker without a valid work permit.
If found guilty, they can be fined between 10,000 and RM50,000 or jailed up to 12 months or both.
The companies can also be charged under the Passport Act for unlawful possession of passports belonging to others. If found guilty, offenders can be fined up to RM10,000 or jailed not more than five years or both for each passport in their possession.