GEORGE TOWN: A syndicate trafficking Rohingya into Malaysia and giving them fake UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) cards, was busted following police raids on three locations in the state.
Police arrested five Rohingyans comprising two suspected human traffickers, two victims and an agent making fake UNHCR refugee cards.
Penang police chief Comm Datuk T. Narenasagaran (pic), in a statement Wednesday (July 10), said the raids were carried out in North Seberang Prai.
"During investigations, we found out that one of those arrested is an agent for refugee card counterfeiters," he said.
Comm Narenasagaran added the suspected traffickers and the agent would be investigated under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, while the two victims would be investigated under Immigration Act.
Individuals registered with the UNHCR as needing international protection are provided a UNHCR card or other appropriate documentation, which states that the bearer of the card or document is under its protection.
UNHCR refugee cards provide asylum seekers a level of protection which may reduce the risk of arrest and allow limited access to health services, education and other essential support services in Malaysia.
According to UNHCR data, there are 150,204 registered refugees in Malaysia, and 133,725 of them are Rohingyans.
The remaining 16,479 are from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Iran.