KUCHING: Four local drivers were among 22 persons arrested by the General Operations Force (GOF) for attempting to enter the state illegally.
Sarawak Disaster Mangement Committee (SDMC) in a statement yesterday said the suspects were detained during an Op Benteng operation at Jalan Biawak in Lundu.
It said those arrested comprised 13 men including the four drivers, eight women and an Indonesian child.
“They were arrested under the Anti-Trafficking in Person and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act and have been taken to Sentosa Polyclinic to be tested for Covid-19, before they are handed over to Padawan police for further action,” it said.
Separately, SDMC said the GOF had also instructed two illegal immigrants from Indonesia, who were discovered along an illegal path in Kampung Sungai Paoh in Serian, to return to their home country.
It also said between Jan 9 and yesterday, the Armed Forces had carried out five deportations, detained illegal immigrants with a Malaysian ‘tekong darat’ (human trafficking agent), and seized illegal goods that had been discovered abandoned along the Sarawak-Indonesia border.
“In Tebedu, an illegal immigrant was arrested with a ‘tekong darat’ on Jan 9 and a vehicle belonging to the latter amounting to RM50,600 was seized.
“Another case involved seizure of a bag containing white powder believed to be drugs, weighing 78.8 grammes, that was found on Jan 11 at the border. The estimated value has yet to be confirmed as it is still awaiting confirmation from the Department of Chemistry,” it said.
SDMC also noted that there were two cases in Biawak involving the deportation of illegal immigrants on Jan 10 and 11 as well as a case in Serikin involving two illegal immigrants who were ordered to leave the state on Jan 10.
On arrests of illegal immigrants carried out by the state Immigration Department under Op Benteng, the committee said a total of 48 people were detained on Jan 10 and 11.
“The arrests involved illegal immigrants from Indonesia (40), India (5) and the Philippines (3). This brings the total number of illegal immigrants arrested between Jan 1 and 12 to 356 people,” it said.
The committee said all illegal immigrants were arrested at eateries, rented houses, public areas, grocery stores and fish markets, during a special operation carried out in Kuching, Sibu and Miri.
“All of them have committed offenses under the Immigration Act 1959/63 whereby they have overstayed in the state and do not have valid passes,” it added.
Op Benteng is an ongoing operation involving enforcement authorities such as the GOF, Armed Forces and police to safeguard the country’s borders, eliminate cross-border crimes and prevent the spread of Covid-19.
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