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Saturday, November 25, 2017

3 men arrested and RM13 million seized from suspected prostitution ring in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU - Sabah Immigration Department seized RM13 million from a suspected prostitution syndicate and arrested three men in Kota Kinabalu in the early hours yesterday.

In an operation codenamed “Ops Gegar”, the trio, aged between 30 and 50 years old, were detained for suspected involvement in the syndicate at a hotel.

Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said one of men was a Filipino and the others were locals.

He said the operation also led to the discovery of 17 foreign women, believed to be forced into prostitution by the syndicate in Sabah, at the hotel.

"We believe that the three men act as middlemen for the syndicate and further investigations are being conducted," he told a press conference after witnessing the passing-out parade of immigration officers who had completed basic training course at Malaysia Immigration Academy here, today.

Mustafar said RM11 million was first discovered in one of the hotel's rooms, where some of the victims were held.

He said the department's enforcement team was later led to another location, where the remaining money was found.

He said the department would ascertain who the owner of the money was.

"This is a very high-profile case as this is the first time that the department discovered such a case involving a huge amount of money.

"All angles are being looked into and we are investigating into the mastermind of the syndicate and what the purpose of the money is," he said.

Asked on the possibility that the hotel was being used as the prostitution centre, Mustafar did not rule out such a possibility.

“A special team from the headquarters has been sent to Sabah to lead and coordinate the investigation.”

Mustafar said the police would also help the department with the investigation where necessary.

He said the case was being investigated under Section 13 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 and Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

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