JOHOR BARU: Police scored a major coup in their fight against human smuggling syndicates with the arrest of 18 enforcement personnel, including one with the rank of Assistant Superintendant.
Johor police chief Comm Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said following the arrest of 40 members of a human smuggling syndicate on June 4, police launched another operation between June 15 and June 18.
“We successfully arrested 18 officers and personnel believe to be involved with human smuggling syndicates along the Johor east coast.
“All suspects are between the ages of 24 and 41, includes 13 from the police and five from the Armed Forces, ” he told a press conference at the state police headquarters here Thursday (June 18).
Comm Ayob added that the highest-ranking police officer nabbed, the Assistant Superintendant, was arrested at a district police headquarters here in Johor.
He said the other policemen included two lower rank personnel from the marine police region II in Tampoi and two from Bukit Aman.
“We believe that these enforcement officers and personnel have been helping syndicates since 2017 by channelling information and making it easier for the syndicates to move undocumented immigrants.
“From our investigations, one officer received RM10,000 from a syndicate for one successful case of smuggling people and also drugs, ” he said.
Comm Ayob added that investigations found that these officers and personnel have been helping more than one human smuggling syndicate.
“These syndicates prefer to pay the suspects in cash as they do not want to do banking transactions to avoid money trails, ” he said.
Comm Ayob added that the police do not rule out more arrests from within enforcement agencies following the latest development.
“We will not compromise or protect any person or officers from any enforcement agency including the police if they are involved in human smuggling syndicates.
“I only give one warning and if such personnel and officers still continue to be involved in illegal activities, then be prepared for action, ” he said.
Comm Ayob added that the case was being investigated under Section 130V of the Penal Code and Section 130ZB by using investigation procedures under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) 2012 against the suspects.