When immigration authorities came knocking at their doors, the illegal foreign workers knew their time was up.
But some still tried to make a last-ditch effort to evade the long arm of the law. They became "creative" in their attempts but did not get anywhere.
On Thursday, immigration authorities in Malacca began a crackdown which lasted till 10am yesterday.
Eight housing estates were raided during the 12-hour operation.
The crackdown led to the arrests of 76 men and women for immigration offences such as the misuse of work passes and overstaying, China Press reported.
The report said the offenders tried different ways to evade arrest.
In one house, some workers were found hiding above the ceiling boards.
They had used a rope to get up there but forgot to remove it. When the officers came in, they spotted the rope.
But after finding several workers, the authorities were still not convinced that there were so few people hiding in the house. So they did a second, more thorough sweep.
A man in his 20s was found hiding in a water tank above the house. The water tank measured just 1.2m deep.
The officer who found him said that when he opened the tank, the man had been holding his breath face down in the water. He had been in there for about 10 minutes.
But the back of his head was above the surface, making it easy to spot him.
China Press reported that the man was wearing only a singlet and underwear. He was later found to have overstayed on a work pass.
In another house, authorities arrested what was described as a "slightly fat" man hiding in an ice box. The ice box measured less than a metre wide and deep.
The Myanmar national was shaken by the sudden crackdown, and was visibly embarrassed when they found him.
Since 2011, the Malaysian government has been running a programme known as 6P, which allows illegal workers to apply for a work permit.
About 620,000 workers had applied for the permit as of November 2012 , out of which about 500,000 were legalised.
Malaysia has one of Asia's largest population of foreign workers and relies heavily on them. On various occasions, the government has granted illegal immigrants amnesty.
It is not known if the 76 arrested during this crackdown will be granted amnesty or deported.
This article was first published on Dec 13, 2014.
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