Bukit Aman Criminal Investigations Department director Datuk Huzir Mohamed at a press conference on smuggling of migrants operations, June 30, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Bukit Aman Criminal Investigations Department director Datuk Huzir Mohamed at a press conference on smuggling of migrants operations, June 30, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 — Federal police recently crippled three major organised crime groups nationwide involved in the smuggling of undocumented migrants into the country.

Federal Criminal Investigations Department director Commissioner Datuk Huzir Mohamed said the operation was aimed at strengthening the country’s border against migrant smuggling, in line with the government’s policy of safeguarding the influx of migrants which may contribute to the rise in Covid-19 import cases.

The three gangs were namely Gang Otong from Johor, Gang Halim from Perak and Gang Husen Maungdaw from Penang.

“The gang leaders and its members have been caught and charged with migrant smuggling before, but the gangs continued to exist. Their numbers grew and their activities became more serious.

“From June 4 until June 20, police from the state of Perak, Johor and Penang with the assistance from Bukit Aman mounted a simultaneous operation to eliminate their criminal activities.

“Subsequently, a total of 111 suspects aged between 28 and 68 were arrested. In our effort to dismantle their operations, we will continue to hunt the remaining gang members,” he told a press conference in Bukit Aman here.

According to Huzir, Gang Husen Maungdaw was led by an ethnic Rohingyan whose activities involving migrant smuggling and armed robberies centred around the waters of the northern peninsular and Penang.

As for Gang Halim, Huzir said the gang is led by a Malaysian whose activities centred around the waters of Hutan Melintang, Perak since 2017.

As for the largest group crippled, Huzir said Gang Otong was led by an Indonesian man and found to be active in migrant smuggling activities since 2014 along the waters of east Johor.

Huzir said all of the suspects were detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) for their alleged links to organised crime activities.

He also revealed that 24 individuals from various national enforcement and security agencies were detained for their alleged involvement in migrant smuggling activities with the gangs.

As of now, 50 suspects in Johor, 13 in Perak and 18 in Penang is expected to be charged in court on July 2.

“We believe that this latest operation has successfully eradicated the threat to national security posed by these organised crime groups through migrant smuggling.

“We also hope that the public would channel any information in regard to migrant smuggling activities to the authorities which can be done at any police station,” he said.