Major blitz to verify UNHCR cards

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 06 Aug 2020

PUTRAJAYA: Immigration authorities will conduct a massive operation to check the authenticity of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) cards after it was discovered that a syndicate has been producing fake cards.

The syndicate, believed to have been operating for two years before it was crippled in a special operation on Monday, may have sold close to 30,000 fake UNHCR cards, said its director-general Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud.

“Our investigations showed they had between 30 and 50 ‘customers’ a day. With them operating for two years, the syndicate sold fake UNHCR cards by the thousands, ” he said at a press conference yesterday.

After two months of surveillance, authorities raided two business premises in Jalan Lebuh Pudu on Monday and arrested 16 foreigners – 15 from Myanmar and a Bangladeshi.

A Malaysian, who rented the premises to the foreigners, was also arrested.

Early investigations showed that the syndicate was masterminded by a Myanmar national and his target customers were people of Rohingya and Arakan ethnicity.

The syndicate is believed to have charged between RM30 and RM150 for a fake UNHCR card.

“For customers in the Klang Valley, the syndicate offers same day delivery. We also found out that it served customers nationwide where the fake UNHCR cards were sent via courier service, ” said Khairul.

The suspects are being detained at the Immigration depot in Lenggeng while investigations continue.

Khairul said aside from investigating the activities of the syndicate under the Immigration Act, cooperation with the police would allow for a probe to be conducted under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act.

On Md Rayhan Kabir, Khairul said the Bangladeshi would be deported once the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) completes its review of the investigation papers.

He said the department was made to understand that investigation papers regarding Rayhan’s case had been handed to the AGC.

“And he will never step foot in Malaysia again as he will be blacklisted, ” he said.

Asked how soon Rayhan could be sent back to Bangladesh, Khairul said the Immigration Department was informed that the earliest flight available from Kuala Lumpur to Dhaka is at the end of August.

Rayhan is alleged to have made false allegations on Malaysia’s treatment of illegal immigrants in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic when he was interviewed in an Al Jazeera documentary.

He was arrested on July 24 by a team of Immigration officers from the Putrajaya office.

Rayhan has since apologised to the people of Malaysia for his statement in the documentary.

Khairul also said that foreigners whose passes had expired since January and want to return to their country can do so without having to pay compound or go through immigration procedures.

“However, those whose passes have expired prior to this year and want go home will have to go through procedures and pay compound, ” he said.

Those who overstayed for a year will pay a compound of RM1,000 and the maximum compound for overstaying is RM3,000.

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