PETALING JAYA: Two suspected human traffickers have been busted by the Immigration Department in a special operation in Kota Tinggi, Johor.
The operation, dubbed Ops Seludup, was conducted on Friday (Aug 20) together with the Malaysian Armed Forces.
Immigration director-general Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud said in a statement on Sunday (Aug 22) that two alleged masterminds, a 33-year-old former government servant and a 35-year-old Indonesian, were arrested.
"As many as 18 illegal migrants from Indonesia who were being smuggled into the country were also detained.
"The operation team received intelligence that a group of illegal migrants was expected to reach Panti Tanjung Lompat between 3am and 5am on that day.
"The team was mobilised and successfully intercepted three vehicles ferrying the illegals," he said.
One of the three drivers escaped, he added.
The syndicate is believed to have been active since the start of the movement control order last year.
It is believed that the syndicate worked with traffickers in other countries to bring illegals in from neighbouring countries and transport them by land to employers here.
"Each migrant was charged from RM800 to RM1,500 to enter Malaysia," Khairul Dzaimee said.
The 18 detained migrants are currently being investigated under the Immigration Act 1959/63, while investigations of the two suspected masterminds will be conducted under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (Atipsom) Act 2007.