PUTRAJAYA, March 6 — The Immigration Department has crippled a syndicate, which was producing forged passports and documents and being masterminded by a Bangladesh national, with the arrest of 26 people in the Klang Valley in an operations last night.

Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said raids carried out on several premises after a two-month surveillance, resulted in the arrests of several foreigners, aged between 25 and 50, from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as a local man.

He said the syndicate was hiding behind companies which had been set up to supply foreign workers to other organisations, while making easy money of between RM3,000 to RM5,000 per worker.

 “The syndicate is headed by a 50-year-old Bangladesh national, and our investigations found that he had set up several companies dealing in textiles, construction and janitor work, to cover up his criminal activities,” he said in a press conference here today.

Mustafar said with payments for each forged document between RM1,000 to almost US$10,000 (RM39,043), the syndicate’s illegal gains were believed to have been in the millions of ringgit.

He said the head of the syndicate had entered Malaysia in 2005 as a tourist and later started a network to forge the passports and documents of several Asean countries, Canada, France, India and China.

He said among the items which were confiscated were 136 forged passports, 87 false visa stickers of several countries as well as machinery and equipment for falsifying documents.

“We also found that the syndicate also handled applications for the semi-skilled foreign worker category, using false Bangladesh academic certificates to meet the conditions for application,” he said.

All the foreign nationals were detained and investigated under the Immigration Act 1959/63, Passport Act 1966 (Act 150), the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 and the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (Act 613). — Bernama