(MENAFN - Asia Times) A total of 94 illegal foreigners were prevented from entering Malaysia by Malacca authorities during a series of operations conducted over the past four months. Seven human traffickers – local and Indonesians – were also facing charges after investigations suggested they were involved in human trafficking by taking illegal immigrants in and out of the country via the Malacca sea border, the China Press reported.
Between November and December 2018, five raids were carried out by Malacca police and other agencies including the Marine Police, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and the Malaysian Armed Forces. A total of 55 illegal immigrants who landed on the coast of Malacca were intercepted.
From the beginning of this year until February 25, authorities conducted six raids during which 39 illegal immigrants aged between 20 and 50 from Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan were rescued and detained. Authorities reported that coastal areas, especially around Ujong Pasir, Klebang, Kuala Sungai Baru and Pulau Konet, were popular illegal entry and exit points by the human smuggling syndicate.
Foreigners who had no legal documents but wished to enter or leave Malaysia would seek the services of the syndicate who kept them in nearby premises, inns or apartments before taking them to the beach for the illegal trips, often between midnight and dawn.
The seven alleged traffickers were charged under Section 26A of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 for smuggling migrants and Section 26J of the same act for transporting smuggled migrants. Meanwhile, the detained illegal immigrants were charged under Section 6 (1) (c) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 for entry and residing in the country without a valid pass or permit.