24 foreigners stopped from entering country

PORT KLANG - Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) officers foiled an attempt by 24 foreigners to enter the country in a tugboat near Tanjung Sepat in Sepang.

The agency's Klang operations director Maritime Commander Romli Mustafa said the officers, who were patrolling the coastline, suspected something amiss when they spotted the tugboat speeding towards Tanjung Sepat at around 9.05pm on Saturday.

When the officers moved towards the tugboat, it picked up speed although it was dark and the situation was somewhat dangerous, he said.

"My men chased the boat for about 15 minutes before it capsized," he said, adding that no one on board the tugboat was inju­red.

Kmdr Romli said the suspects, aged between 20 and 40, included an Afghan and two Indonesians. The rest were Bangladeshis.

Checks by the enforcers found that the Bangladeshis had first flown to Singapore from their country and then entered Pekanbaru in Indonesia before attempting to enter Malaysia.

"This is the first time Bangladesh nationals, in a big group, have tried to illegally enter the country," he said.

"Some of them told us they are here for vacation while the Afghan said he fled his country due to unrest in his hometown.

"The Indonesians are believed to be the skipper of the tugboat and his helper," said Kmdr Romli, adding that none of the foreigners had proper documents.

All the foreigners have been remanded.