MMEA detains four illegal migrants in ‘water taxi’

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 09 Jul 2020

KOTA TINGGI: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has detained four illegal immigrants who entered the country using a “water taxi”.

Tanjung Sedili MMEA zone director maritime captain Mohd Zulfadli Nayan said the water taxi was spotted 7.5 nautical miles east of Tanjung Lompat at 1.50pm yesterday.

“There were the skipper, a crewman, and four passengers, all Indonesians aged between 24 and 43 in the boat.

“All said they were on their way to a tanker to work but upon further investigation, there was no such tanker in the vicinity,” he said.

Mohd Zulfadli said the detainees were brought for Covid-19 screening at a clinic in Bandar Mas, Bandar Penawar.

The case is being investigated under Section 44(3) of the Customs Act 1967 for transporting passengers without manifest which carries a penalty of a fine up to RM10,000 and imprisonment of up to a year.

For entering Malaysia illegally, the Indonesians were being investigated under Section 6(1)(a) and 6(1)(c) of the Immigration Act and they could be fined up to RM10,000 and five years’ imprisonment upon conviction.

On a separate matter, the Singapore coast guards have found the body of an Indonesian woman that has been missing since Tuesday after the boat she was travelling in capsized in an attempt to flee from the MMEA.

Johor MMEA director First Admiral (Maritime) Aminuddin Abdul Rashid said the body belonged to one of the three Indonesian immigrants who had fallen into the sea.

“The Singapore coast guards found the body at noon yesterday in waters close to Tuas.

“We have confirmed that the body belongs to the Indonesian immigrant we were searching for,” he said, adding that the MMEA was currently working with the Indonesian and Singapore embassies in managing the body.

A search and rescue operation was conducted after the boat, carrying illegal immigrants, capsized at about 12am on Tuesday.

First Admiral Aminuddin said they intercepted the boat but its skipper attempted to flee and during the chase, it capsized some 4.3 nautical miles southeast of Tanjung Piai.

He said the skipper, an Indonesian man, was fished out from the water while an Indonesian woman was found by a passing vessel.

“The two revealed that another woman and two men had also fallen into the sea,” he said.

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