PONTIAN: A total of 325 illegal immigrants have been arrested by the Johor Immigration Department during raids on workers’ settlements near Kampung Belokok, here, and Jalan Lingkaran Dalam in Johor Baru.

Immigration Deputy Director-General (Operations) Jafri Embok Taha said the first raid was conducted at 12.45am on Saturday (June 8) by 140 officers and personnel from the department.

“The raid in Kampung Belokok was based on a public tip-off informing us about the presence of illegal immigrants in the area. This was followed by two weeks of surveillance by department personnel and the drone unit.

“A total of 252 people were inspected, and 129 of them were arrested for various offences.

“We also arrested a 62-year-old local man under Section 56(1)(d) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 for harbouring illegal immigrants,” he said.

Those detained included 30 men from China, five men from India, four men from Indonesia, one man from Pakistan, four men from Myanmar, and 84 men from Bangladesh.

“Those arrested are aged between 20 and 40,” he said, adding that the settlement was located about 500 metres from a construction site where the illegal immigrants were working.

“We also believe that this settlement has been here for less than a year based on the progress of the construction,” he added.

Meanwhile, regarding the second raid, Jafri said that the operation was conducted at 3.20am at a workers’ settlement near Danga City Mall.

“This was also based on a public tip-off and followed by two weeks of surveillance by the department.

“The second raid involved a larger number of workers, with 725 people inspected and 198 arrested for various immigration offences.

“Those arrested are aged between 25 and 40. We also arrested a 35-year-old local man under Section 56(1)(d) of the Immigration Act 1959/63,” he added.

The second raid saw the arrest of 115 men from Bangladesh, 61 men from Indonesia, 20 men from Myanmar, and one man from Pakistan.

“The team also arrested a man for having a fake United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) card. The man claimed to be from Myanmar, but a background check revealed that he is from Bangladesh,” he added.

All of those arrested have been taken to the department headquarters in Setia Tropika, Johor Baru, for documentation.

“We would like to remind employers to always ensure that the foreign workers they hire are from a legal source,” he said, adding that some of the immigrants suffered minor injuries while trying to escape arrest.

The case is being investigated under Section 6(1)(c) and Section 15(1)(c) of the Immigration Act of 1959/63 for entering the country without valid travel documents and overstaying.

The operations were jointly conducted with other agencies including the National Registration Department, Civil Defence Force, National Anti-Drugs Agency (AADK), and Rela.– keywords: Johor Immigration, Illegal Immigrants, Construction, Foreign Workers, detained