Fake entry syndicate busted, six nabbed

KOTA KINABALU: A syndicate producing and selling fake entry permits for the past year has been busted.

Sabah Immigration Department director Datuk Sitti Saleha Habib Yussof said six people, including the leader, were arrested in two raids in Sembulan near here.

She said these raids, dubbed Ops Serkap, came after a month of stakeouts by officials from Immigration and other security agencies.

“In the first raid on an unnumbered house in Kampung Sembulan Lama on Wednesday, we inspected three men and two women aged between 24 and 52 and found fake entry documents in their possession,” she said.

Sitti Saleha said 28 entry permits, 16 pieces of instructional notes believed to be fake, 15 payment receipts, RM2,288 in cash, two laptops, four smartphones, 28 fake IMM13 documents, two stamp pads, dubious MyKad receipts, and a fake identification registration paper were confiscated.

This led to a second crackdown on Thursday, where a 59-year-old woman, believed to be one of the syndicate heads, was detained at Riverside Sembulan at around 1pm.

She said the suspect had in her possession 18 payment receipts for MyKad believed to be fake, and RM744 in cash.

Another 15 identity card applications, complete with pictures and fingerprints, and two MyKad applications, were subsequently found in a house in Kuala Menggatal near here after her arrest, added Sitti Saleha.

She said another suspect, also believed to be one of the leaders, is still on the run and suspected to be in the peninsula.

“We are working with our counterparts on the peninsula to investigate and find the suspect,” said Sitti Saleha.

She added that the Immigration Department believes this syndicate has been offering entry permits to migrants, charging between RM100 and RM800 per document.

“We believe they have been active since April 2022 and might have collected between RM60,000 and RM100,000 from this illicit business,” she said.

On a separate case involving Immigration officials who were nabbed under suspicion of involvement in the smuggling of undocumented Filipinos into Malaysia in Tawau recently, Sitti Saleha said this is still under police investigation, and she hoped the probe would be carried out justly.

It was reported on March 26 that six immigration officials were among 10 people nabbed in this case handled by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

On March 30, the suspects were released on bail but were rearrested by police under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).

Sitti Saleha said it was regrettable that any immigration official could be involved in such crimes but assured the public that dedicated and responsible individuals operated the Immigration Department.

“We’ll let the police handle this case for now. We’ll only know full details of their involvement, if any, after the police have completed their probe,” she said.

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