Immigration busts Rohingya smuggling ring

PUTRAJAYA: The Immigration Department busted a Rohingya migrant smuggling syndicate in a special operation around Kota Baru, Kelantan.

Immigration director-general Datuk Ruslin Jusoh said the operation on Sunday led to the arrest of 10 people, including Ali, a Rohingya man suspected to be the syndicate’s mastermind, as well as two alleged “tekong darat” (ground coordinators).

He said the 1am raid was carried out based on intelligence gathered by the Immigration Department’s Special Tactical Unit (Pastak) team following the arrest of “Gang Bob” members on Feb 3.

Ruslin said the team spotted a Perodua Kelisa car, believed to be driven by a tekong darat, which subsequently stopped at a petrol station near Wakaf Che Yeh.

“When the authorities approached, the suspect accelerated, causing a minor collision with our team’s vehicle and the swift action of Pastak led to the successful arrest of Ali,” he said in a statement, Bernama reported.

Ruslin said upon further inspection of the car, the team discovered three women and a Myanmar man, aged between 19 and 21, inside.

He said the car was believed to have stopped at the petrol station, which served as a waiting area for an express bus before the migrants were transported to Kuala Lumpur.

Following the arrest, Ruslin said the suspect directed the team to a house, believed to belong to Ali, where an air pistol was seized.

This led to a subsequent raid on another house in Pengkalan Kubor, Kota Baru.

“Another Rohingya man, identified as Rahim and believed to be Ali’s right-hand man, was arrested, alongside four Myanmar men, aged between 16 and 27.

“The syndicate has been in operation for six months and has charged illegal immigrants fees ranging from RM500 to RM1,000 per person,” he said.

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