75 illegal immigrants in Tawau-bound buses detained

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KUNAK (Sabah): Local police have detained 79 people, including 75 illegal immigrants, who were on board two Tawau-bound express buses.

Kunak district police chief Supt Mohd Nasaruddin M Nasir said the individuals, who were believed to be heading to Tawau from Sandakan, were intercepted in an operation called “Ops Sea Hunter” mounted along Kampung Simpang Empat at 12.50pm and along Kampung Lormalong at 2.10pm yesterday.

“In the operation at Kampung Simpang Empat, the 57 passengers in the bus, comprising 24 men, eight boys, 16 women and nine girls, could not produce any identification document.

“The driver and assistant, who were locals aged 37 and 24, were also detained,” he said in a statement here today.

He said the 18 passengers in the bus intercepted at Kampung Lormalong, comprising eight men, nine women and one girl, were also undocumented. The bus driver and assistant, who were locals aged 39 and 60, were detained as well.

Nasarudin said police were in the process of identifying the mastermind in the migrant smuggling activity.

“The investigation also found that the fare for the trip from Sandakan to Tawau was RM1,200, to be paid when the passengers reach the destination,” he said, adding that the passengers were believed to be returning to Indonesia.

He said all the suspects were detained under Section 26J of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007.