Existence of new smuggling network not ruled out

Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay

JOHOR BAHRU – The Johor Police are not ruling out the possibility of the emergence of a new migrant smuggling network, as there have still been recent attempts to infiltrate the state’s waters.

Johor Police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said this is following the arrest of 56 individuals comprising 17 skippers and 39 illegal immigrants through Ops Benteng in the eastern and western coasts of the state from Sept 1 until Oct 25.

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“There is still infiltration by immigrants from Indonesia, so there might be a new network. We will investigate if there is any involvement of enforcement officers in these activities,” he told a press conference here, Oct 26.

Ayob Khan added that 537 illegal immigrants had been nabbed in the same operation held by the Johor Police Contingent, from April 22 until Oct 25.

“Of the total, 439 were arrested on the eastern coast of Johor while another 98 on the western coast. Also seized were 42 vehicles and nine boats,” he said.

He said 44 investigations papers were opened during the same period, with 40 of them taken to court.

Ayob Khan said the police would further tighten control over the state’s waters with cooperation from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, the Malaysian Immigration Department and the Royal Malaysian Navy.

“The Johor Police is giving a stern warning that we will continue to take action against migrant smuggling syndicates attempting to enter the country, especially through Johor,” he said.

— BERNAMA