PORT KLANG, Nov 8 — The Selangor branch of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has busted a syndicate specialising in smuggling illegal immigrants, believed to have been operating in the Klang Valley for the past three years.
Selangor maritime director Capt (Maritime) Mohammad Rosli Kassim said the syndicate, known as ‘Ibu Ani’, was responsible for arranging accommodation, provisions and vehicles to move illegal immigrants in and out of Malaysia through unauthorised routes.
“The syndicate was busted following information from 25 illegal immigrants and six agents who were arrested onboard a smuggler’s boat by the MMEA and other enforcement agencies under Op Benteng in the waters of Pulau Angsa and the coast of Pantai Sungai Janggut, last Friday.
“Following the arrests, several locations and premises were raided in Kuchai Lama Flats, Kuala Lumpur that led to the arrest of an Indonesian woman known as Ibu Ani, 56,” he said at a media conference today.
A boat, a multipurpose vehicle, two vans and several mobile phones with a total estimated value of almost RM450,000 were also seized during the raids.
“The suspects will be investigated under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 and the Immigration Act 1959/63,” he said.
Mohammad Rosli said they would intensify operations to focus on skippers and agents involved in such activities and to locate the true mastermind, believed to be a foreigner, who is still at large.
He said the human trafficking syndicates were now competing against each other and offering ‘full packages’ worth between RM1,500 and RM2,000 in addition to testimonies of the effectiveness of their activites that they share through Whatsapp.
Mohammad Rosli also reminded owners of rental vehicles to be cautious of their customers as action would be taken against them if they were found to be colluding with illegal immigrants.