Sabah immigration authorities bust fake identity card syndicate

KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Sabah Immigration Department has busted a syndicate involved in producing fake Malaysian identity cards at a squatter settlement in Sandakan.

Five people, aged between 14 and 52, were arrested during the raid dubbed Ops Serkap at a squatter house in Jalan Labuk, the department said in a statement on Thursday (Oct 5). All five suspects, one of them a woman, are Filipinos.

Two of them held Malaysian permanent resident identity cards, one was in possession of a birth certificate while another could not produce any identification documents. The fifth person was a teenager who is related to one of the suspects.

The raid comes after recent arrests in Kuala Lumpur of seven suspected militants of the notorious Abu Sayyaf group, who were believed to have entered Sabah from the southern Philippines undetected and made their way to Peninsular Malaysia using forged travel documents.

Investigations revealed that the syndicate charged the illegals as much as RM1,500 (S$483) each to obtain fake Malaysian documents, including identity cards.

Officers seized 15 IMM13 documents (a visit pass issued to Filipino refugees who fled to Sabah in the 1970s), 14 entry permits, seven entry permit payment receipts and two confirmation letters for refugee status issued by the Federal Special Task Force in Sandakan, the statement said.

Also seized were 12 identity card approval letters from the Sabah National Registration Department, three MyKads (Malaysian identity cards) and 70 passport-sized photographs.

Most of the documents and forms are believed to be fake, said immigration officers.