Joint federal, state police cripple Johor sex trafficking syndicate, rescue 23 foreign women

A makeshift room that was used for prostituition activities during a raid on a premises in Taman Nusa Bestari in Iskandar Puteri yesterday night. — Picture courtesy of the Iskandar Puteri police
A makeshift room that was used for prostituition activities during a raid on a premises in Taman Nusa Bestari in Iskandar Puteri yesterday night. — Picture courtesy of the Iskandar Puteri police

ISKANDAR PUTERI, June 11 — The Johor police crippled a sex trafficking syndicate and rescued 23 foreign women, including a minor, in a raid on a premises in Taman Nusa Bestari here yesterday night.

During the raid which was carried out at an entertainment outlet at 11.35pm, police rescued the women aged between 15 and 39, comprising 15 Vietnamese and eight Thai nationals.

One of those reacued was a 15-year-old Vietnamese girl.

Iskandar Puteri police chief Assistant Commissioner Dzulkhairi Mukhtar said the raid was described as one of the biggest for the district this year.

He said the raid, codenamed Op Pintas, was carried out by an team of policemen from Bukit Aman’s Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (ATIPSOM) Unit (D3) with the state and district Anti-Vice, Gambling and Secret Society division (D7) personnel.

“Besides the rescued foreign women, police also arrested five suspects, aged between 23 and 47, including a Zambian man and woman,” Dzulkhairi said today.

Dzulkhairi said based on the travel documents, the Thai women arrived in Malaysia three to seven days ago, while the Vietnamese women have been here for a month to a year.

“Police have applied for an interim protection order for the victims while the suspects have been remanded to help in the investigation,” said, adding that various items were seized during the raid, including a Mercedes-Benz cars, handphones and condoms, as well as RM27,406 and S$420 (RM1,280) in cash.

Based on a month-long intelligence-gathering and surveillance, Dzulkhairi said police believed that the syndicate was linked to an earlier centre that was busted by police here last month.

He said police are still investigating the extent of the syndicate’s operation in the district and state.

The case is being investigated under Sections 12 and 14 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (ATIPSOM) Act 2007 and Section 6(1)© of the Immigration Act 1959/63.

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