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By William Isau
SIBU, Jan 17: Two local men believed to be acting as transporters and colluding with a man from a neighboring country have been arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle eight illegal immigrants into the State in Lubok Antu yesterday.
Lubok Antu district police chief, Supt Victor Ripon said today that the arrests came as a result of intelligence received.
“A police team from Lubok Antu managed to detain and inspect two cars believed to have come from Badau, West Kalimantan, Indonesia to Lubok Antu at about 10.30am. During the inspection, we found that one vehicle was driven by a local man with an Indonesian passenger who did not have a valid traveling document, he said.
Victor said five minutes later a second car, a Perodua Alza, came from behind.
A local man who was driving the second car was also arrested for carrying seven Indonesian men without valid travel documents.
The two arrested locals are also believed to be acting as landlords and transport agents.
Preliminary investigations found that the entry of all eight illegal immigrants being transported was arranged by a man and transport agents from neighboring countries who also liaised with the two locals.
The illegal immigrants had used illicit trails (‘jalan tikus’) from the border to reach Lubok Antu and were charged fees that has been agreed between the two parties.
According to Victor, the two local men who were arrested were taken to the Lubok Antu police station for further action.
“Both suspects are being investigated under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act (Atipsom) 2007 on suspicion of bringing illegal immigrants into the country,” he said.
The eight illegal immigrants aged between 18 and 31 from Sumatra, Indonesia were detained under the Immigration Act 1959/63 because they did not have valid immigration passes.
The two local men involved are unemployed and they are from Sibu and Tatau.
It is understood that each illegal immigrant will be charged between RM500 to RM1,000 each by a local transport agent to be brought to work believed to be a factory in the northern part of Sarawak.
Victor said a remand order against the two local suspects will be applied for today.
If convicted under Atipsom 2007, the suspects can be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison and a fine or both. — DayakDaily