January 07 , 2003

Attempt To Smuggle In Three Chinese
Nationals Foiled

JOHOR BAHARU, Jan 7 Bernama) -- Johor Customs officers last night foiled an attempt to smuggle in three Chinese nationals in the boot of a car at the Johor Causeway here.
The driver, a Malaysian said to be working in Singapore, later told the authorities that he was paid RM150 for every person he smuggled into Malaysia.
The three foreign nationals, aged between 24 and 28, and the driver have been detained for further investigation.
Johor Immigration Operations Division Deputy Assistant Director Abdul Kadir Aziz said the Customs officers found three men, huddled in the boot, on inspecting the car at the Green Lane of the causeway at about 10pm and handed them over to the Immigration Department.
"These Chinese nationals were smuggled into the country for a purpose which we are still investigating," he told reporters at the Johor Causeway, here Tuesday.
He said the Malaysian claimed that it was his first attempt and that he needed money in desperation.
While the driver was being detained, he said a man believed to be a middleman contacted the former through his mobile phone several times to settle the matter.
But Abdul Kadir said the man failed to turn up.
He said the foreign nationals could be fined up to RM10,000, jailed up to five years and given up to six strokes of the rotan for entering the country illegally if convicted under the Immigration Act.
The driver could also be fined between RM10,000 and RM50,000, jailed between two and five years and whipping if convicted, he said.