155 Uighur immigrants found in Malaysia apartments

KUALA LUMPUR - More than 150 illegal immigrants from China's restive Xinjiang region, including dozens of children, were arrested in a Kuala Lumpur suburb on Friday, Malaysia media reported.

The 155 Uighur, who could be seeking political asylum in Malaysia, were found in two apartment units in Taman Bukit Jalil, The New Straits Times (NST) said.

Immigration officers, who raided the apartments after a tip-off, said there were 79 adults and 76 children holed up in crowded conditions.

Most of the immigrants were sleeping when the police descended on them on Wednesday night, Sin Chew Daily said.

Kuala Lumpur Immigration Department enforcement chief Basri Hassan told NST there were 65 immigrants in one of the three-bedroom apartments.

"All 65 immigrants including 32 children were found sleeping in cramped conditions during the raid," he said.

In the second unit, there were another 90 people.

The Uighur were brought to an Immigration lock-up for further investigation.

Xinjiang has been hit by a wave of violence in the past year, including attacks on civilians and police shootings of locals that have left more than 200 dead, AFP said.

China blames the unrest on organised terrorist groups seeking independence for the region, while rights groups cite resentment fuelled by government restrictions on Uighur religion, language and culture.