Wednesday, May 22, 2024
26 C
Brunei Town

Malaysia cracks down on illegal passport syndicate

PUTRAJAYA (ANN/THE STAR) – Malaysian authorities have uncovered a clandestine operation involving the production and sale of counterfeit passports to illegal immigrants.

Led by a Bangladeshi individual, the syndicate operated out of an apartment situated in Jalan Kepong. These fake passports, priced at MYR500 each, were crafted at the apartment and later delivered to buyers.

Immigration Department Director-General, Datuk Ruslin Jusoh, revealed that the syndicate has been supplying forged passports to foreign nationals for an estimated period of one year.

Taking swift action, the Immigration Department’s intelligence and special operations division conducted a targeted operation dubbed “Op Vista Mutiara” on Monday.

 “The team caught two Bangladeshi men aged 26 and 28 at around 6.30am at Kepong Commercial Park.

“They were carrying fake Indonesian and Myanmar passports,” he said at a press conference yesterday.

The men were believed to be on their way to post the passports to customers.

After interrogating the suspects, they brought the enforcement team to an apartment where they arrested a man believed to be the mastermind known as “Shimul”, aged 33.

“Officers seized 16 Indonesian and Bangladeshi passports suspected to be fake, two laptops and a printer,” Ruslin said, adding the apartment was used as a centre to print passports.

He said the syndicate’s modus operandi was to offer their services to people from Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Pakistan and Nepal who do not have passports and identification documents.

“These passports will be sold to them for MYR500 to MYR700 each. The syndicate could produce five to 10 copies of fake passports daily,” he said.

“Investigations found that the syndicate received payments online and would post the passports once the documents are printed,” added Ruslin.

All the suspects have been remanded for 14 days for investigation under the Immigration Act 1959/63, the Passports Act 1966 and the Immigration Regulations 1963.