World

M'sia nabs 400 in SEA Games clean-up

Officers detain foreigners linked to terror groups and bust forging syndicate

KUALA LUMPUR: The pre-SEA Games clean-up in Malaysia over the weekend led to the busting of a passport-forging syndicate and the arrest of more than 400 foreigners.

It was the first large-scale joint operation led by Bukit Aman's Special Branch Counter Ter­rorism Division.

About 200 law enforcement officers hit the streets on Sunday to nab foreigners linked to international terror groups, illegal immigrants and others suspected of illegal activities.

The Counter Terrorism Division head, Deputy Commissioner Ayob Khan, said the operation was part of preparations for the South-east Asia (SEA) Games, which start on Aug 19.

Concentrating on the city centre, around Jalan Masjid India, security personnel in full tactical gear were armed and equipped with devices to detect radioactive material.

The counter-terrorism offi­cers worked alongside officers from other units like the Special Action Unit, General Operations Force's Tiger Platoon and the Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department.

Other agencies involved were the Immigration Department, Atomic Energy Licensing Board, National Registration Department and Interpol.

"Our top goal is to nab foreign terrorist elements. We are being proactive in dealing with possible threats."Malaysia’s Counter Terrorism Division head, Deputy Commissioner Ayob Khan

Members of the public were shocked to see such a huge deployment of manpower.

Public buses were also stopped for checks.

In a raid on the Menara City One condominium in Jalan Munshi Abdullah, multiple enforcement teams made their way from the top and lowest floors simultaneously, with armed officers at stairwells to block escape routes.

Most residents cooperated, with documents in hand for verification.

Those who ignored the knocks soon had their doors and locks broken. Some units where the occupants refused to cooperate were found to be full of foreigners with either incomplete papers or none at all.

Police also detected fake passport makers and seized some RM54,000 (S$17,200) along with 70 passports, including 67 Indian passports, and a machine used to forge immigration stickers. A Pakistani man, believed to be the mastermind, was also arrested.

Resident Annuar Amin, 43, said he was shocked to see dozens of suspects tied up at the apartment courtyard as they awaited processing.

"I was about to go back upstairs but I saw people being rounded up," he said.

Mr Ayob said the 409 foreigners detained were brought to Bukit Aman for further screening and were from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar, Oman, Yemen and Nigeria, among other countries.

He said: "We held those suspected of being involved in terrorism activities. The others were handed to Immigration for offences under their jurisdiction. Our top goal is to nab foreign terrorist elements. We are being proactive in dealing with possible threats." - THE STAR

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