Johor Customs stops boat with nine illegals attempting to slip out of country

PONTIAN: The Customs Department foiled an attempt by a group of nine illegal immigrants to exit the country via Sungai Boh here.

Johor Customs Department director Sazali Mohamad said a patrol team in the area spotted a suspicious-looking boat with nine people on board at around 11.15pm on March 29.

"As the patrol team approached the boat, four foreigners tried to escape by diving into the sea.

"We managed to save two who were on the verge of drowning but two others managed to flee," he said in a statement on Sunday (April 4).

He said inspection on the remaining three men, three women and a two-year-old girl found that they had overstayed.

"Two women did not have any identification documents while the others had passports and the child had a birth certificate.

"We believe they were trying to return to their home country illegally," he said, adding that all of them would be investigated under Section 26A of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 (Act 670) and Section 6(1)(c) of the Immigration Act.

In another case, Sazali said Customs arrested a 37-year-old man and seized 20 units of all terrain vehicles (ATV) from a premises in Taman Benut Utama here at around 3pm on March 30.

"We believed the ATVs, valued at around RM45,000 including tax, were brought into Malaysia illegally and stored at the locked premises to avoid detection," he said.

The case was being investigated under Section 135(1)(d) of the Customs Act 1967 for possessing prohibited items.

If convicted, the suspect could face a fine of at least 10 times the value of the item or RM50,000 or whichever amount is higher and not more than 20 times the value of the item or RM500,000 or whichever amount is higher, or both.

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