Bangladeshi human trafficking syndicate busted

PUTRAJAYA: The Immigration Department smashed a human trafficking syndicate during an operation in Sekyen 28, Shah Alam in the wee hours of Friday morning.

Its director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said the syndicate was headed by a 43-year-old Bangladesh national Abdul Rauf better known as "Abang Bangla" who is believed to be the mastermind behind the illegal entry of hundreds of his fellow nationals.

"We have also arrested a 49-year-old local man believed to be Abang Bangla's assistant and subsequently detained 50 Bangladesh nationals aged between 20 and 45 years-old during the 2am raid in addition to seizing RM13,000 cash and 48 Bangladesh passports," he told reporters during a press conference at the department's headquarters, here, today.

Initial investigations revealed that "Abang Bangla" who has been operating for the past eight months arranges to smuggle in "blacklisted" Bangladesh nationals who have been caught and previously sentenced for entering the country illegally.

"The modus operandi of the syndicate is to arrange flight tickets from Dhaka, Bangladesh to Jakarta, Indonesia.

"From Jakarta, they are smuggled into the country via the Straits of Malacca with Sekinchan, Selangor becoming the drop-off point before the syndicate takes them to the halfway home," he said, adding that each Bangladesh national involved would pay between RM15,000 to RM20,000 to the syndicate.

He said the Bangladesh nationals would be forcibly put up in the halfway home until they settle their payment before they are handed over to agents or employers who need foreign workers.

He added that Abdul Rauf entered Malaysia in June 2013 and worked at a company in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.

Both Abdul Rauf and his assistant have been detained under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 (Act 670), while 50 Bangladesh nationals were detained under the Immigration Act 1959/63.

On another matter, Mustafar said his department also conducted a separate raid at a warehouse in Subang Jaya, yesterday, detaining 121 Bangladesh nationals; 60 Indian nationals and two Pakistan nationals.

"Those detained have committed several offences including possessing expired passports and working in the wrong sectors.

"Those detained should not be working at the warehouse. Apparently there are some outsourcing companies that had managed to post them to work there. As such we are presently investigating the warehouse owner and its outsourcing agent," he added.