Malaysia graft busters seize luxury cars in nationwide blitz

A Rolls-Royce Phantom (left, top) and a Mustang were among luxury cars seized by graft busters investigating a criminal syndicate involving immigration officers in Malaysia. The syndicate is believed to be involved in international human trafficking.
A Rolls-Royce Phantom (above) and a Mustang were among luxury cars seized by graft busters investigating a criminal syndicate involving immigration officers in Malaysia. The syndicate is believed to be involved in international human trafficking. PHOTOS: MALAYSIAN ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION
A Rolls-Royce Phantom (left, top) and a Mustang were among luxury cars seized by graft busters investigating a criminal syndicate involving immigration officers in Malaysia. The syndicate is believed to be involved in international human trafficking.
A Rolls-Royce Phantom and a Mustang (above) were among luxury cars seized by graft busters investigating a criminal syndicate involving immigration officers in Malaysia. The syndicate is believed to be involved in international human trafficking. PHOTOS: MALAYSIAN ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION

PUTRAJAYA • Malaysian graft busters could not believe their eyes when they were investigating a criminal syndicate involving immigration officers and found a fleet of luxury cars comprising a Rolls-Royce Phantom, Mustang, Range Rover and an Audi.

Not bad for an immigration officer in the KP19 grade, where the salary range is only RM1,360 (S$446) to RM4,052, not including allowances.

The four cars were seized, adding to an overall haul that included more than RM800,000 in cash, 22 other luxury cars, four high-powered motorcycles, as well as other assets such as houses, plots of land, jewellery and designer handbags.

The seizures came as part of a nationwide blitz code-named "Ops Selat" (Operation Strait), which has also seen the arrest of 50 people involved in the syndicate: 28 Immigration Department officers, 17 foreign worker agents and five others.

An arrest on Friday involved an immigration officer and three foreign worker agents who have been remanded for six days.

Yesterday, three other immigration officers - including a deputy director stationed at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) - were arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

The latest arrests brought the number of those detained in Ops Selat since last Monday to 53, including 33 immigration officers stationed at KLIA, the second terminal KLIA2 and at Johor Baru's Customs, Immigration and Quarantine complex.

The syndicate providing "stamping facilities" to foreign workers and illegal immigrants is believed to be involved in international human trafficking, particularly in China, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 22, 2020, with the headline 'Malaysia graft busters seize luxury cars in nationwide blitz'. Print Edition | Subscribe