Sunday, September 19

Health Dept drivers arrested for human smuggling

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KOTA KINABALU: Three Health Department drivers were arrested by police for allegedly being involved in human smuggling using government vehicles.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hazani Ghazali said the three suspects were arrested in Tawau on July 13.

He said police investigation revealed that the suspects, who were traveling in government vehicles, had initially ignored police orders to stop at three roadblocks between Kunak, Lahad Datu and Tawau.

Hazani said the three suspects, aged 39 to 48, from Kunak, were initially arrested for obstructing a policeman from carrying out his duties as well as failing to stop at a roadblock at KM38 Kunak/Lahad Datu at around 8pm on July 13.

It was learned that the suspects, in two Health Ministry-registered vehicles, ignored orders to stop at the KM38 roadblock when a policeman spotted something among the baggage inside the vehicles.

The drivers sped through the roadblock and two more along the road to Tawau despite being ordered to stop.

Police however managed to track down the vehicles and made the arrests in Tawau.

It is alleged that the suspects were ferrying 15 illegal immigrants from Lahad Datu to a drop-off point in Tawau.

However, none of the illegal immigrants were inside the vehicles when the suspects were arrested.

Meanwhile, Hazani said the suspects will be investigated under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act (Atipsom).

Hazani added that police were also looking at the possibility of using the Prevention of Crime Act against the three suspects.