KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 25, 2013): The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (APMM) has revealed that foreigners especially those from countries facing political and economic crisis are willing to pay between US$5,000 (RM16,000) to US$10,000 (RM32,000) to be smuggled to their country of destination.
APMM Criminal Investigation Branch director Maritime First Admiral Datuk Zulkifili Abu Bakar said the amount was for those coming from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and Bangladesh using air route to destinations such as Australia and Canada.
"Most of them were willing to allow themselves to be smuggled by syndicates to other countries with the aim of enjoying better livelihood compared to their countries of origin.
"The high cost for their illegal trips involved several transits before they arrive at the country of destination such as Australia and Canada," he said when met by Bernama recently.
He said for the journey to Canada, they made Malaysia or Thailand as transit points while for the journey to Christmas Island, Australia, Malaysia or Indonesia would be made the transit point.
"As these illegal immigrants are from far away and the journey is not direct as it required transit countries, the process documentation would make the passage expensive.
"However, should they be smuggled direct from the country of origin to the transit country, the cost maybe cheaper. So for Rohingyas or Indonesians to be smuggled into Malaysia, they only required about RM500 to RM1,000," he said.
Zulkifili said based on random interrogations and sharing of information with the Australian Border Protection Command (ACBPS) in efforts to eradicate human trafficking, it was found three out of 10 foreign immigrants caught said they came to Australia through Malaysia and Indonesia.
Syndicates were seen using the privileges of Visa On Arrival (VOA) and also 'Social Visit Pass' to facilitate the entry of foreigners at entry points which only required the passport from the foreign country for a person to be in Malaysia for between 15 to 90 days," he said.
Usually the syndicate will use fibreglass boat complete with three engines with a speed of 30 to 35 knots, he said.
"Through the sharing of information with Australia, we found disused local fishing boats were sold to syndicates for their activities," he said.
Zulkifili said usually those being smuggled would be stationed in the transit country for up to 90 days for the purpose of documentation or to obtain refugee status to facilitate them to be brought into the country of destination.
"During this period in the transit country, they do not work to avoid being caught and they were placed in areas that are difficult for the authorities to detect," he said.
In the latest APMM operation, an Afghan couple with three children tried to be smuggled out of Malaysia to Indonesia using a boat but were caught in the waters of Kuala Sepang Kecil Selangor.
Based on the Anti-Human Trafficking Council (MAPO) since 2011, there were 106 cases of migrant smuggling with 28 cases under APMM investigations.
MAPO also recorded 680 cases of human trafficking investigated by enforcement agencies from 2008 to October this year with seven cases by APMM. – Bernama