Sarawak Immigration Dept detains 189 illegal foreign workers

KUCHING: Sarawak Immigration Department arrested 189 illegal foreign workers in a dawn raid at a construction site in Balingian, Mukah on Sunday.

Immigration spokesman Maspaun Bolhasan said the operation mounted between 5am and 8.30am involved 72 officers led by the department's enforcement deputy chief Rosliah Kassim.

In a statement here today, she said, the team rounded up 376 individuals comprising 158 Indonesians, 127 Chinese, 43 Indians, 37 Bangladeshi, seven Filipinos, a Sri Lankan and three locals.

"Upon inspection, 119 of the men and two women (67 Indonesians; 16 Chinese; 16 Indians; 18 Bangladeshi; and four Filipinos) were found without valid travel documents, an offence under Section 6(1)(c)Immigration Act 1959/63," she added.

She said 41 Indonesians, three Indians and two Filipinos were arrested for overstaying, an offence under Section 15(1)(c) of the same Act.

She added 14 other Indian workers, seven Bangladeshi and the Sri Lankan were arrested for allegedly abusing their social visit passes under Article 11(7)(a) of the Immigration Regulations 1963.

Several officers sustained minor injuries in ensuing struggles with some of the foreigners who started to act aggressively in their attempt to escape, according to Maspaun.

Meanwhile, state Immigration director Ken Leben who said the arrests were the biggest by far this year, attributed the success to team work and department's intelligence section.

"We will not compromise with any quarters, individuals or companies, in combating the problem of illegal foreign workers and will take stern action against those responsible including hauling them to the courts," he said.

The suspects are currently detained at the department's detention depot in Simuja near Serian town pending further investigations. — Bernama