Four Immigration officers nabbed for ‘releasing’ refugees from depots

Four Immigration Department officers are remanded on allegation of soliciting and receiving money for the early release of UNHCR refugees detained at the Langkap detention depot. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Four Immigration Department officers are remanded on allegation of soliciting and receiving money for the early release of UNHCR refugees detained at the Langkap detention depot. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, June 10 —  Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission officers  believe they have stumbled upon  syndicates that arrange the “early release” of Rohingya and Chin refugees from immigration depots in Perak, Penang, Pahang and Kuala Lumpur with the arrest of four  officers from the Langkap Immigration Detention Depot near Teluk Intan on Monday.

It is learnt they are hot on the heels of others from the depot who had helped in the deals that cost refugees between RM2,000 and RM3,000 per person.

At least 10 refugees, all not holders of United Nations Human Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) cards, are said to have been released by the officers who took them out on the pretext of meeting  UNHCR officials.

The officers, support staff in the KP17 grade category in their 30s, were ordered to be remanded for seven days by the magistrates court yesterday to facilitate investigations into alleged soliciting and receiving of money to release Rohingya and Chin refugees.

Sources said MACC had got wind of their activities in November after several people lodged reports.

The officers had escaped detection as they had used the excuse UNHCR rules required non-cardholders detained by the department to be taken out of the depot to meet officials from the agency.

The syndicates, which operated closely, are said to also comprise middlemen who discussed arrangements with the  immigration officers.

The Langkap depot is one of the Immigration Department’s major detention facilities and is equipped to deal with a large number of refugees.

Asked if MACC had frozen the banking accounts of the officers, the source said this was in the process of being  done.

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