LANGKAWI: The 202 Rohingya illegal immigrants arrested at Jalan Pantai Kok, Teluk Nibong, on Sunday are believed to have paid RM2,000 each to a syndicate to smuggle them into Malaysia, said Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin.
He said their family members, who were already in Malaysia, would have to pay the syndicate an additional RM13,000 per immigrant if they were reunited.
The plans to smuggle in the immigrants were believed to have been hatched long ago as most of those detained had family members in Malaysia, he added.
“The female immigrants said their intention was to meet their husbands who are already here.
“The others said they have families who have been living in the country for seven or eight years already.
“This plan was made long ago, involving the detained immigrants, the syndicate, agents and their family members.
“From the interrogations, we found out that they had paid RM2,000 to the syndicate in Cox Bazaar, Bangladesh.
“Upon their arrival, if their family members manage to take them out, they have to pay another RM13,000 to the agent,” he said here today.
“We will continue to hunt for the syndicate members and bring them to justice,” he added.
Hamzah was speaking at a press conference at the Langkawi district police headquarters after taking part in a surveillance patrol with the Kedah and Perlis Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and the Langkawi Region One marine police.
Also present were home ministry secretary-general Jamil Rakon, Bukit Aman Internal Security and Public Order Department director Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani, Immigration Department director-general Khairul Dzaimee Daud and MMEA director-general Mohd Zubil Mat Som.
The Kedah and Perlis MMEA detained the 202 immigrants, comprising 152 men, 45 women, four boys and one girl, near a beach resort on Sunday.
Hamzah said the ministry’s agencies would step up patrols in the country’s waters because some of the detained immigrants said that several ships carrying Rohingya immigrants would be making their way to Malaysia in the near future.
“We know that this is not the last group, based on our intelligence and interrogation of those arrested. There may be two or three more groups,” he said.
He hoped that the relevant international agencies would help Malaysia to resolve this illegal immigrant issue.