Sabah officers seize $4.2m cash in prostitution raid

KOTA KINABALU • Malaysian immigration officers responding to a call to rescue three women from a prostitution ring made a surprising discovery during their raid - over RM13 million (S$4.2 million) in cash.

Sources told The Star that the department received a tip-off that three Filipino women were being held at a hotel in downtown Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, by a prostitution syndicate.

When the officers raided the hotel early on Friday, they found the three women in the hotel spa and a further 17 Filipino women in other rooms.

They also discovered piles of cash - RM11.9 million in a room in the hotel and RM1.17 million at an apartment next door.

"Some of the cash was stuffed in envelopes and plastic bags while some was just left in the open since there was so much of it," said Immigration director-general Mustafar Ali.

Three men - believed to be middlemen for the syndicate - were arrested.

Datuk Seri Mustafar said two of the men were Malaysians and the other was a Filipino, and they were aged between 30 and 50.

Mr Mustafar said the department would investigate to determine the source of the money and what it was going to be used for.

He said the case was being investigated under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti Smuggling Act.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 26, 2017, with the headline 'Sabah officers seize $4.2m cash in prostitution raid'. Print Edition | Subscribe