Two locals among eight nabbed in Kelantan for smuggling of migrants

KUALA LUMPUR: Two local men and six Myanmar nationals were detained by Immigration Department officers following operations against a people smuggling syndicate in Kelantan.

Immigration director-general Datuk Ruslin Jusoh said surveillance and intelligence gathering enabled the officers to track a vehicle believed to be transporting undocumented foreigners on Feb 21.

"The suspects were using the Kubang Kerian-Pasir Puteh route.

"The raiding team managed to catch up with the vehicle and instructed the driver to stop but he sped off.

"However, the vehicle was intercepted at Simpang Tiga, Jalan Bukit Marak/Jalan Peringat in Bachok," he said in a statement on Tuesday (Feb 27).

The vehicle was driven by a local man believed to be the syndicate's transporter, he added.

"We also detained three men and three women from Myanmar, aged between 17 and 25, without any valid travel documents.

"They were en route from a transit home to a destination chosen by the syndicate," he said, adding that further investigation led the raiding team to a house in Demit, Kota Baru, believed to be a transit home for the syndicate.

"We detained a local man in his 40s and seized RM4,500 cash as well as a mobile phone," he added.

Ruslin said the syndicate would place undocumented migrants smuggled into the country in transit homes before moving them to Seremban and Kuala Lumpur.

"The transporter is paid between RM1,000 and RM1,200 for each trip by the syndicate," he said.

The detainees were all taken to the Kelantan Immigration Enforcement Division for further action, he said.

"We also seized the vehicle used by the syndicate."

A total of 15 officers were involved in the operation.

Ruslin said the department appreciated the information from the public that led to the arrests.

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