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Type of document: News
Topic: Actions/initiatives/projects
Law enforcement
Trafficking patterns
Geographic descriptors: Malaysia
Language: English
Publisher: Channelnewsasia.com
Source: www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/southeastasia/view/132581/1/.html
Date of publication: 15 February 2005
Long Abstract: Malaysia has arrested nine people under a tough law that allows for detention without trial for allegedly issuing forged documents to human trafficking syndicates, local media and officials said.

The suspects include an official in the National Registration Department (NRD), which issues identity cards for citizens and permanent residents, an Indonesian and a Hong Kong citizen, said police chief Mohamed Bakri Omar.

A detention order has been issued against the Indonesian, who has permanent residence status, while the Hong Kong citizen has been deported, Mohamed Bakri was quoted as saying by the official Bernama news agency.

"There was some infiltration by some staff working with international syndicates," Home Minister Azmi Khalid told a news conference late Monday. "A number of NRD staff have helped the syndicate to come out with PR (permanent residence) cards, many issued to people from China," he said.

Asked why the suspects were being held under the Internal Security Act (ISA), he said: "We need to isolate them from the system, we need to break the link."

The New Straits Times on Saturday reported that police recently seized from foreigners more than 150 identity cards, including new ones with hi-tech microchip security features, and arrested an undisclosed number of home ministry officials.

Last year two immigration department officials were held under the ISA for allegedly supplying Malaysian passports to a syndicate which then sold them to foreigners. Identity cards are reportedly sold for about 25,000 to 30,000 ringgit (US$7,895) each.

All nine were arrested between September 25 last year and January 28, Mohamed Bakri said.
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