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Syndicate hacks into Immigration Dept’s database

07 Apr 2021 / 13:05 H.

PUTRAJAYA: With the help of insiders, a syndicate specialising in issuing fake temporary employment visit passes (TEVP) for foreigners had gone to the extent of hacking into the centralised database of the Immigration Department to produce the documents.

With control of the department’s database, the serious breach had led to the production of hundreds of thousands of fake TEVP that were issued to “legalise” foreigners working illegally in Malaysia, thus causing losses in hundreds of millions of ringgit to the government in foreign workers levy.

The syndicate raked in hundreds of millions of ringgit by charging between RM6,000 and RM8,000 for each TEVP.

Sources said what was more hair-raising was that with the intrusion of the database the syndicate was able to lift the entry ban of any foreigner who is blacklisted or placed on Interpol’s “red alert” notice to enable him or her clear passage into Malaysia through immigration checkpoints at airports.

Yesterday morning, following a joint investigation carried out by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Immigration Department since last year, the mastermind of the syndicate, who holds a Datukship, was among five people aged between 33 and 43 arrested by MACC in a large-scale operation at 22 locations in Kuala Lumpur.

Sources said investigations showed that crooked immigration department insiders had aided the syndicate in planting transmitters in the centralised database and cloning the online system.

This enabled the syndicate members to override the passwords of immigration personnel and print the TEVP remotely from the syndicate’s base as if it were genuinely issued by the Immigration Department.

In yesterday’s raid, the MACC seized two cloned computer systems and the transmitters used by the syndicate.

Investigators also discovered that the syndicate had carried out its activities from a leading hotel on Jalan Sultan Ismail.

They also learnt that the syndicate often moved its activities to other venues including luxury hotels to avoid being traced by the authorities.

The breach of the national security system and the leakages in government revenue had been raised in the Auditor-General’s Report and discussed in Parliament.

MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki who confirmed the arrests said a thorough investigation is underway to ensure all those involved including the “insiders” face action.

The MACC also praised the leadership of the Immigration Department for its cooperation in sharing information during the process of intelligence gathering.

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