Teen held over people smuggling

JOHOR BARU - A teenage boat captain was arrested by the Johor Customs Department for trying to smuggle 30 illegal immigrants including a year-old toddler out of the country to Indonesia.

State department director Datuk Ramli Johari said that a team of marine Customs enforcement officers from Sungai Pulai detected the boat at about 1am in Tanjung Piai, Pontian near here, on March 3.

"The 19-year-old Indonesian boat captain was transporting the group of immigrants back to Indonesia without legal documents," he said at a press conference here yesterday.

The skipper, he added, is being investigated under Section 26A of the Anti-Trafficking of Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act while the 30 illegals were detained under Section 5(2) of the Immigration Act 1959/63.

Ramli said that it was the third human trafficking case recorded in the country this year after those in Selangor and Batu Pahat, Johor, in January and February respectively.

"We urge the public to be the eyes and ears of the department to look out for illegal activities such as human trafficking and the smuggling of contraband goods," he said.