KUCHING, June 19: A group of illegal immigrants was busted yesterday after authorities arrested three locals and 22 illegal immigrants during a raid at a premises in Tabuan yesterday following a viral video on social media of a lorry suspected to be carrying illegal immigrants parked behind a private hospital.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing Jemut disclosed that preliminary investigation has found that all the foreigners detained had entered Sarawak through an ungazetted road (‘jalan tikus’) from a farm in Kampong Biawak and their entry was suspected to have been assisted and managed by the locals.
“Intelligence and surveillance operations were swiftly carried out (upon the video shared on social media yesterday) to find the location but it was found that the location of the incident was not as viralled.
“Acting upon this information, approximately between 2pm and 4pm yesterday, a team of officers from the Special Operations Unit (Quick Response Team) of the Immigration Department of Malaysia Sarawak, raided a premises in Tabuan resembling the building in the video which is used to run swiftlet business.
“The raid resulted in the arrest of 22 foreigners consisting of eight men and 14 women who were all hiding in a room on the third floor of the premises,” he reported in a statement today.
Masing, who is also Security Control Committee chairman, added that three locals believed to be the employers of these illegals were also arrested in the operation.
“They were believed to be in cahoots with a smuggling syndicate in Sarawak.
“Preliminary investigation also discovered that all the foreigners were brought in using a lorry from Lundu District to Kuching. Efforts to track the lorry driver to further assist in the investigation are underway,” he said.
All the foreigners, Masing added, were brought for Covid-19 testing in accordance with the standard operating procedures (SOP).
They were found to have committed offences under the Immigration Act 1959/63, Immigration Regulations and Passport Act 1966, while three local suspects were detained to assist in investigations. — DayakDaily