GOF foil human smuggling bid

GOF personnel foil a human smuggling attempt involving a local tekong and four Indonesians at Bunan Gega, Serian.

SERIAN: The General Operations Force (GOF) thwarted a human smuggling attempt and two attempts by eight Indonesians to enter the state illegally at separate locations last Thursday.

GOF Sarawak brigade commander SAC Mancha Ata disclosed that the human smuggling attempt took place around 8pm in Bunan Gega, Serian when a patrol team came across a suspicious car.

The patrol team detained the vehicle for inspection and found five men — four Indonesians and a local, inside.

Further examinations found that the local man believed to be a tekong (agent) was transporting the foreigners, who do not have any valid travel documents, into Malaysia via an illegal route.

“The modus operandi is the local tekong contacted another tekong in the neighboring country to determine the time and place to pick up the illegal immigrants. It is believed that the immigrants will wait in an oil palm plantation to be picked up.

“Interrogation found that the tekong asked the foreigners to pay RM500 each for sending them to the promised location,” he said.

All of them were arrested and handed over to Serian police for further actions.

The case is being investigated under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Migrant Smuggling (Atipsom) Act 2007, the Immigration Act 1959 (Act 155), the Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Act 1988 (Act 342).

The Indonesians’ bid to enter Sarawak via rat trails is foiled by the GOF personnel.

Meanwhile for illegal entry attempts, Mancha said the first incident took place around 3.30pm at a rat trail near the Tebedu Immigration and Customs Quarantine Complex (ICQS).

“A patrol team caught two Indonesian women attempting to enter the state via a rat trail. Both were later ordered to return to their country of origin as they did not have any valid travel documents.

“The second incident happened around 6.40pm in an oil palm plantation in Sematan when a patrol team found two Indonesian men in a house, believed to be used as transit point for immigrants,” he told.

During inspections, the men failed to show any valid travel documents and were instructed to return to their country of origin via Jalan Telok Serabang near the Telok Melano border.