KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Immigration Department crippled a human trafficking syndicate and arrested 51 illegal immigrants in an operation codenamed “Op Gelombang V” in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, last Wednesday.

Its director-general Datuk Ruslin Jusoh said those arrested consisted of 43 Indian nationals, comprising 39 men and four women, two Pakistani men and six Thai nationals, comprising two women and four boys.

He said the illegal immigrants, aged between two and 60 years, were arrested at 10.20 am in a raid conducted at a budget hotel which was used by the syndicate as a transit house for illegal immigrants.

“Also arrested were five local men, consisting of the hotel owner, two caretakers of the premises and two transporters. All of them, aged between 23 and 57 years, are suspected to be members of the syndicate,” he said in a statement today.

All the illegal immigrants are sent to the Tanah Merah Immigration Depot while the five local men are on remand for six days to assist in the investigation.

Ruslin said the immigration also confiscated RM5,300 in cash, 42 passports purportedly issued by the Indian government and four vehicles suspected of being used to transport the illegal immigrants to the transit location.

He said the syndicate, believed to have been active since the middle of last year, targets illegal immigrants from India wanting to enter the country illegally by charging each individual between RM8,000 and RM10,000.

“The syndicate’s modus operandi is to smuggle the immigrants through a neighbouring country using illegal routes at the border.

“These illegal immigrants are then transported using local transporter vehicles to the transit locations before they are sent to specific locations,” he added.-Bernama

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