JOHOR BARU: Johor police arrested 15 individuals believed to be involved in smuggling illegal immigrants into the country through ‘Ops Pintas Selatan’ in various places, including coastal areas, from May 13 to yesterday.
State Police Chief, Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd said operations covering 24 roadblocks across the district inspected 700 vehicles and 1,074 individuals of various ages.
Additionally, it also includes patrol forces in coastal areas and Johor waters.
“Those arrested were locals and Indonesians between the ages of 23 and 65.
“They each play different roles, tekong darat (four people), taking care of ground-related operations (four people), transporters (three people), and water-related operations (four people), “ he told a media conference here yesterday.
He said, from the initial observation, all suspects were seen as “knowing each other” but they did not necessarily work for the same syndicate.
“We will continue to curb this activity in different methods in the future because if we look at our 516-kilometer coastal line from Mersing to Muar, their landing can be anywhere,“ he said.
All suspects would have been remanded yesterday to be investigated under Sections 12 and 26C of the Anti-Trafficking In Persons and Migrants Anti-Smuggling Act (ATIPSOM) 2007.
Meanwhile, Mohd Khalil explained that the number of under-18 children still missing in Johor remain at 56 people and not 143 as reported by a local newspaper earlier.
“Investigations found that out of a total of 143 Reported Missing (children), 87 have returned safely to their family.
“Problems for the police occurred when the families did not inform the police their children were back home,“ he said.
However, he said that the reason for the child missing was to follow friends, follow a lover, feeling depressed or having family problems.
Statistics also show that the northern part of Johor Bahru records the highest number of children missing with a total of 15 people; Kulai (10); Iskandar Puteri (eight); southern Johor Bahru (seven); Seri Alam (five) as well as Batu Pahat and Kluang (two each).
Last month, a local newspaper reported that Johor recorded the highest number of missing children with 143 followed by Selangor (140), Kuala Lumpur (115) and Sabah (99 persons).
According to the checks on the Royal Malaysia Police Missing Children website, a total of 831 children were missing throughout the country for the period 2010 until last month. — Bernama