Thursday, December 8

MMEA thwarts attempt to smuggle out 15 Afghan nationals

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DETAINED: The skipper and his Indonesian crew together with Afghan nationals arrested by MMEA enforcement. — Bernama photo

ALOR GAJAH: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) thwarted an attempt to smuggle out 15 Afghan nationals to Indonesia in the waters of Lukut in Negeri Sembilan Tuesday.

Kuala Linggi Maritime District enforcement chief Captain Ibrahim Mohamed said the Afghan nationals, aged between 23 and 69, were detained after the MMEA patrol team spotted and stopped a suspicious-looking boat at about 10.15pm. He said the boat was manned by a skipper and two crewmen from Indonesia aged between 19 and 48.

“The skipper and his crew are believed to have committed an offence under the Anti-Trafficking In Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 and the Immigration Act 1959/63,” he told a press conference here yesterday.

He said the MMEA also seized various foreign currencies including Dollar, Rupiah, Riyal, Dinar and Euro, amounting to RM63,000.

Ibrahim said initial investigation also found that the Afghan nationals were each charged with a fee of between US$2,000 and US$3,000 to be transported to Dumai, Indonesia before continuing their journey to Australia. Nevertheless, the Afghan nationals had entered Malaysia legally by land route from Thailand on Jan 7, he added. — Bernama