Immigration raid on Kuching bird business busts human smuggling ring, arrest of 22 Indonesians

The enforcers had conducted the raid after seeing a video being shared on social media. — Reuters pic
The enforcers had conducted the raid after seeing a video being shared on social media. — Reuters pic

KUCHING, June 19 —The Sarawak Immigration Department’s special operations unit raided a shop on Jalan Tabuan here yesterday and uncovered a human smuggling network behind the swiftlet business.

State Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Masing said the enforcers had acted based on a video that was shared on social media showing a lorry carrying immigrants parked behind a shophouse block.

He said 22 undocumented Indonesian migrants were found at the premises and arrested for offences under the Immigration Act 1959/63 as well as the Immigration Regulations and Passport Act 1966.

“During the raid conducted yesterday afternoon, all the foreigners were hiding in a room on the third floor of the premises,” Masing, who is also the chairman of the state border security committee, said in a statement.

He said the immigrants, 14 who are women and the remaining eight men, were taken to the shop in a lorry after they entered through a rat trail in Biawak, Lundu.

He added that a search has begun for the lorry driver to assist with investigations.

He said three locals, believed to have employed the immigrants, were also arrested yesterday. They are believed to be part of a larger smuggling ring in Sarawak.

Masing said the foreigners were later taken for Covid-19 testing in accordance with the gazetted standard operating procedures.

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