KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK)- Sixty-eight Chinese nationals were detained for setting upon a police team investigating a tip-off about illegal gambling in Jalan Abraham, forcing the cops to fire several warning shots.
Sixty of the group were later released while eight have been remanded for three days.
Dang Wangi OCPD Asst Comm Shaharuddin Abdullah said that during the 10.36pm incident on Saturday (Nov 11)), a group of policemen on crime prevention patrol received the tip-off and went to investigate.
They were checking the front porch of a house, where tables and chairs had been set up, when about 20 men attacked them, he said.
"Backup arrived and the situation was brought under control. No one was injured but 68 men were brought to the Dang Wangi police headquarters," he said.
The suspects are staying in the area and are believed to be working at several construction sites nearby.
ACP Shaharuddin said at least 200 Chinese nationals are living in the vicinity and police believed there was a communication breakdown between the men and the policemen.
The case is being investigated under the Penal Code for unlawful assembly, using criminal force to prevent a public servant from carrying out his duty and under the Common Gaming Houses Act for gambling in a building.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said foreigners, whether tourists or workers, would be deported to their home country if they commit criminal offences in Malaysia.
A Chinese Embassy official said they were trying to get details about the case and declined further comment.
China is not in the Immigration Department's list of approved source countries for foreign workers.
But many Chinese nationals still work in the country.
It is understood that many used travel visas to enter Malaysia and work without proper documentation as it was difficult to apply for a foreign worker permit.
These illegal workers will work for a month and travel to Singapore and Thailand, before returning to Malaysia again.
Some may return to China for a week and enter Malaysia again.
There are many China-based contractors undertaking construction and infrastructure projects in Malaysia.
In May, the Immigration Department reportedly issued 2,485 temporary work permits and 1,682 employment and professional visit passes to Chinese employees at four construction projects in Johor, including the Forest City project in Gelang Patah.
The permits and passes were processed after the Human Resources Ministry granted a quota approval.
It was reported that the Immigration Department issued 13,441 social visit (temporary employment) passes to Chinese migrant workers in 2016.