SEREMBAN: Sixty-seven Indonesians without valid travel documents were detained in a joint raid carried out by several government agencies in a secluded area which had been turned into a settlement in Nilai near here early on Wednesday (Feb 1).
Negri Sembilan Immigration director Kennith Tan Ai Kiang said his team had to walk 1.2km through the jungle before they reached the area.
"There was also a school-like facility in the area where the children were taught the syllabus of a neighbouring country.
"The village was powered by several generators as it was located in a secluded area," he said in a statement on Wednesday.
Tan said authorities had carried out surveillance on the area for a month before they decided to act.
He said those detained were between the ages of two months and 72 years of age. Eleven of those arrested were men, 20 were women and the rest were children.
"We believe they chose the area for their settlement thinking they could avoid detection.
"We only knew of their presence after being tipped off by the local community who had become worried for their safety," he said.
He said Immigration was assisted by teams from the General Operations Force, National Registration Department and the Civil Defence Force.
Tan said some illegals attempted to flee during the operation but were caught. Some were also aggressive but were subdued.
Also seized from the illegals were weapons including spears and machetes.
"As the settlement was located in uneven and swampy terrain, it made it tougher for the raid team to detain the illegals.
"There were also metal snares all over the place and stray dogs which posed a high risk of injury to the team," he said.
Tan said the illegals would be investigated under the Immigration Act, Passport Act and Immigration Rules for not having a valid travel document, for overstaying and other offences.
They were later sent to the Immigration depot in Lenggeng.
He said Immigration would also probe if the settlement was built on private property or if they had encroached into state-owned land.