JOHOR BARU: Police have arrested another four enforcement agency personnel for suspected collusion with human trafficking syndicates.
Johor police chief Comm Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said the first arrest involved three officers from the Immigration Department who were working at Pasir Gudang Ferry Terminal on Tuesday.
With the latest, 22 enforcement officers have been arrested this month for their involvement in human trafficking activities.
The success was based on the interrogation conducted on 12 illegal immigrants from Indonesia arrested between June 15 and 21, according to Comm Ayob.
The four suspects are aged from 30 to 48.
“One of them is a senior officer in the department,” he told a press conference at the Johor police headquarters here yesterday.
Revealing the modus operandi adopted by the suspects, he said they would provide an entry and exit stamp believed to be fake to help immigrants from Indonesia whose social visit pass (PLS) had expired for more than a year during the restricted movement control order (MCO) period.
“Our country has given a leeway to holders of recently expired PLS to return home to Indonesia during the MCO, but the ones taking advantage of this are pass holders who have overstayed in the country.
“They could not get out through the illegal way because we managed to block their exit with the arrest of 18 enforcement personnel earlier this month so they tried the legal route.
“The immigrants were asked to pay between RM1,500 and RM2,500 per person,” he said, adding that their exit process would be handled by the corrupt Immigration officers.
Comm Ayob said these activities had been going on since May during the restricted MCO period.
The syndicate, he said, became active after the police successfully crippled human trafficking on the eastern shores of the state.
“The immigrants would be transferred from Pasir Gudang Ferry Terminal to the Batam Centre, Indonesia,” he added.
Although the police did not have the exact figure of how many illegal immigrants that these syndicates had helped, Comm Ayob said he was sure the number was high.
Separately, a 41-year-old marine police officer was arrested here on June 19 for his involvement in human trafficking activities.
“The suspect has been working at the marine police base in Putrajaya and involved in the activities since May 2017,” said Comm Ayob.
The Immigration Department suspects are being investigated under Section 26A of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act (Atipsom) 2007 through investigation procedures under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) 2012.
The marine police officer is being investigated under Sections 130V to 130ZB of the Penal Code through investigation procedures under Sosma. All suspects are currently under remand for 28 days from the date of their arrests.
Comm Ayob said that of the 22 enforcement officers arrested so far, 14 were police personnel including an officer, five Armed Forces personnel including two officers, and the latest three Immigration Department officers.