PUTRAJAYA: He first came into the country in 2005 to work in the construction sector.
But now, the 50-year-old Bangladeshi is a multi-millionaire and living a life of luxury.
Authorities believe he has raked in millions of ringgit in ill-gotten gains, running a syndicate with international links, to sell passports and fake work permits.
On Monday, a special operation spearheaded by the Immigration Department took him into custody.
Also arrested during the raids in Sri Petaling and Ampang were 25 syndicate members and runners.
In announcing the success, Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said the forgery syndicate is believed to be the biggest one uncovered to date.
Mustafar said following this, they had engaged several embassies over the discovery of passports of other countries to be sold to Bangladeshis.
“Initial investigations revealed that the selling price for a European passport is between US$5,000 and US$10,000.
“We have spoken to officials from these embassies to share what we have discovered so that they are in the know,” he told a press conference.
While it is not known how passports from countries like Singapore, Luxembourg, Canada, France, Switzerland, India, Thailand and South Korea were obtained by the syndicate, they are sold for a high price.
It also comes with the service of modifying the documents to bear information and photograph of the new owners.
“We see this as a threat to national security. This is a serious crime and we will take stern action against those responsible,” Mustafar said.
The syndicate also offers fake work permits at between RM1,000 and RM3,000 and authorities believe the mastermind has been operating for more than two years.
“We estimate that he made millions judging from how much he charges for the work permits and passports,” he said.
Mustafar declined to divulge if his officers found a substantial amount of money in the suspect’s accounts, saying investigations were ongoing.
During the raids, about 100 Bangladeshi passports were found with newly-issued work permits.
“He has managed to build an extensive network, offering such services to foreigners, mostly his countrymen.
“So we need to break down the chain and take down not only the mastermind but his runners,” he said.
Mustafar also said investigations showed none of his officers was involved.
“With the arrests, I believe we have successfully crippled this syndicate,” he said.
“But we are still on the hunt for other accomplices who have put the safety and security of our country and the people at risk.”