Smugglers abandon Indonesian immigrants in swamp for two days without food, water

Halim Said

KOTA TINGGI: A total of 48 Indonesian illegal immigrants, including a baby boy, were left stranded by a syndicate, and forced to survive for two days in the Pungai mangrove swamp without food and water.

The group, comprising 43 men, four women and a nine-month-old baby, were left to fend on their own, hiding in the swamp while waiting for the syndicate members whom they paid to bring them back to Indonesia via illegal sea routes.

However, their hope of returning home were dashed as the syndicate did not turn up and police raided the Pungai mangrove area last night around 8pm.

Region Two Marine Police deputy commander Superintendent Shaari Ariffin said the arrested illegal immigrants were in their 20s and 40s. They had been waiting since Saturday for the people smugglers.

"All 48 people including a baby boy were found tired and dehydrated as for the last 48-hours, they were surviving without any food or drinking water," he said.

Shaari said the group were brought to the Bandar Penawar police station to have their statements recorded and were detained pending the handover of the case to the Immigration Department.

Shaari said the case will be investigated under the Immigration Act 1959/63.