MIRI - Sarawak police has busted the biggest syndicate in the state falsifying MyKad and birth certificates.
Dozens, including a National Registration Department staff from Putrajaya, Sabahans and Filipinos were picked up on Nov 16 after a week of surveillance at a residential estate in Desa Pujut in the Kuala Baram district.
Police seized 30 copies of "birth certificates", 69 copies of photocopied certificates, an "official receipt" and three Sabah "birth certificates", apart from RM3,100 (S$1,210) in cash, four pen-drives, three stamp-pads, 10 rubber stamps of various government departments in Sabah, a laptop, a desktop computer and speakers.
Sarawak police commissioner Datuk Wira Mohammad Sabtu Osman told a press conference yesterday that police received a tip about suspicious activities at the housing estate.
"This is believed to be the biggest syndicate of its kind uncovered in Sarawak that is believed to be falsifying personal documents for sale to illegal migrants.
"We found 34 people there and after checking their backgrounds and documents, 23 were detained.
"Two are Bajaus from Sabah, seven men and three women are from the Philippines and 11 others include local Kayans," he said.
Six of them were from peninsula Malaysia, including the NRD officer.
Comm Mohammad said police believed that the mastermind was also in the group.
"Initial investigations showed the NRD officer is with the NRD in Putrajaya as an assistant officer. We suspect he is one of the key players.
"The arrest of the Sabahans and foreigners shows that the syndicate had spread its wings to Miri from Sabah."
Comm Mohammad said Sarawak, with its 1,600km long border, had many "rat-holes" that were being used for illegal entry.
Noting this case could be the first of its kind in Sarawak, he added police would investigate whether there were other cases elsewhere.
Comm Mohammad said police had also received reports of 48 documents being stolen from the NRD office in Beluru and would investigate for any connection.