Malaysia detains 116 Indians, Sri Lankans for human trafficking


Kuala Lumpur : Malaysian immigration officials Tuesday discovered a major human trafficking syndicate when authorities detained 116 Indian and Sri Lankan citizens believed to be headed for Indonesia en route to Australia, news reports said.

Support TwoCircles

The men and women, aged between seven months and 50 years, were staying at an apartment in the southern state of Johor, said state immigration deputy director Muhammad Ali Abdullah.

“More than 20 rooms were occupied by the foreigners, believed to be rented by smuggling agents. It is believed that three of the agents were also living at the place but they escaped during the raid,” Muhammad Ali was quoted as saying by the Bernama news agency.

Some of the foreigners had entered the country a month ago, and had been living in the apartment to await their journey to Australia, via Indonesia, he said.

All of the detainees were sent to an illegal immigrant detention centre in the state pending investigations, the report said.

In June, the US put Malaysia back on its list of countries suspected of not doing enough to combat human trafficking, along together with six African countries: Chad, Eritrea, Niger, Mauritania, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

The Malaysian government says it strongly opposes people-smuggling and appealed for cooperation from neighbouring countries to help stop the trade along its long and porous coastlines.