Johor police ramping up crackdown on people smuggling

Johor police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said police will focus and increase their operations in Johor’s western coast. — Picture by Ben Tan
Johor police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said police will focus and increase their operations in Johor’s western coast. — Picture by Ben Tan

KOTA TINGGI, July 2 — The Johor police will expand efforts to curb people-smuggling activities in the state’s west coast and hunt down remaining members of the “Geng Otong” syndicate, said state police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay.

He said the state’s police will also shift additional resources to the area for this purpose.

Johor’s western coastline includes the southernmost district of Pontian, Batu Pahat and Muar to the north.

“At the same time, we (police) will also be on the lookout for remaining members of the ‘Geng Otong’ migrant smuggling syndicate.

“We will keep a close eye on them as the syndicate still has some members left who are trying to take advantage despite having 95 per cent of their members arrested,” said Ayob Khan in reference to the crippled migrant smuggling syndicate active in Johor.

He said this during a press conference at the Kota Tinggi district police headquarters today.

Present was Johor criminal investigation department chief Senior Assistant Commissioner Yusof Ahmad.

Ayob Khan said the measure was important to stem the flow of undocumented migrants into the country due to the current Covid-19 pandemic and their possible connection to terrorism-related activities.

He also warned the public not to support such illicit activities and to contact authorities if they witness any.

“This is a serious matter and the police will not hesitate in using the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities (Amla) Act 2001 as we have done so in previous cases.

“Police will not only freeze their bank accounts but also those belonging to their family members as well to facilitate our investigations,” said Ayob Khan.

Earlier, Ayob Khan and Yusof were seen at the Kota Tinggi court building to observe the prosecution of 51 members of the “Geng Otong” syndicate at the Sessions Court.

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