MMEA nabs 33 foreigners off Tanjung Rhu waters for illegal entry

SEREMBAN: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has detained 33 foreigners for attempting to sneak into the country illegally.

MMEA Melaka and Negri Sembilan director Capt Maritime Iskandar Ishab @ Ishak said a team was dispatched to conduct a check after its Malaysian Maritime Sea Surveillance System (Swasla) radar detected a suspicious looking boat entering Malaysian waters around 9.20pm on Thursday (Jan 26).

“An MMEA asset taking part in an operation in the area was quickly deployed to check out the contact and upon reaching the area, the team found a ‘bot pancung’ (motorised sampan) lurking in the area.

“The operator of the boat then tried to escape but my men managed to intercept it about 30 minutes later in waters off Tanjung Rhu in Selangor,” he added.

Iskandar said the illegals from Indonesia and Myanmar were detained around 10.30pm.

Also arrested was a tekong (boat skipper) and his three assistants.

Iskandar said the boat did not have any registration number and was equipped with three 200-horsepower engines.

Of the 33 individuals aged between 18 and 62 years on board, 21 were men.

None were able to produce any identification document.

The individuals were then detained and later brought to shore to be handed over to the authorities.

He said the case was being investigated under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (Atipsom) Act 2007 and Immigration Act 1959/63.

Iskandar said the offence under Atipsom carries a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine or both.

Those found guilty of flouting immigration laws can be fined up to RM10,000 or jailed not more than five years or both upon conviction.

Iskandar urged the public to contact its operation centre at 06-387 6730 or 999 if they had any information of illegal activity in Melaka and Negri Sembilan waters.