22 illegal immigrants, three locals nabbed in raid

KUCHING: Twenty-two illegal immigrants and three locals were arrested during a raid at a building in Tabuan here last Friday (June 18).

Sarawak Border Security Control Committee chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing said a lorry suspected of carrying illegal immigrants was shown on video which went viral on social media prompting the police to check on it.

“Acting upon the information, approximately between 2pm and 4pm, officers from the Special Operations Unit (Quick Response Team) of the Immigration Department Sarawak, raided a building in Tabuan resembling the one in the video which was a premises used to run a swiftlet business.

“The raid resulted in the arrest of 22 foreigners consisting eight men and 14 women, where during the raid, all foreigners were hiding in a room on the third floor of the premises,” he said today (June 19).

Masing, who is also Deputy Chief Minister said that the three locals believed to be employers of the illegal immigrants were also arrested. They are believed to be in cahoots with a human smuggling syndicate in Sarawak.

“Preliminary investigation also found that all the foreigners detained had entered Sarawak through illegal routes (jalan tikus) from a farm in Kampong Biawak and their entry was suspected to have been assisted and managed by the locals,” he said.

The foreigners were brought in using a lorry from Lundu District to Kuching, while efforts to track down the lorry driver to assist in the investigation are underway.

“All the foreigners were brought for Covid-19 inspection in accordance with the standard operating procedure (SOP),” he said.

Masing said they were found to have committed offences under the Immigration Act 1959/63, Immigration Regulations and Passport Act 1966, while the three local suspects were detained to assist in the investigation.