296 Bangladeshis detained in 3 countries

Prothom Alo English Desk | Update:

Bangladeshi nationals are seen gathered outside a police station following a raid on a shophouse in Medan on 6 February 2019. Photo : AFPAs many as 296 Bangladeshi citizens were reportedly detained in Indonesia, Maldives and Malaysia, according to media reports.

Almost 200 men identified by police as Bangladeshi have been found crammed into a shophouse in Indonesia, authorities said Wednesday, reports AFP.

Police in the city of Medan on Sumatra island were tipped off to the group by suspicious residents who lived nearby.

When police raided the shophouse on Tuesday they found some 192 men, mostly in their twenties, occupying the two-storey building with many complaining about lack of food, authorities said.

Officials said they believed the men had arrived from Bangladesh and were living in the cramped quarters for several months in the hopes of going to neighbouring Malaysia for work.

"We think they arrived here by boat. They don't have any documents," said head of Medan immigration Fery Monang Sihite.

"We're still questioning them and will later decide whether we need to deport them or not."

Maldives Immigration has arrested 80 undocumented workers on Wednesday, in its first operation of the year, reports Maldives-based news portal raajje.mv.

Immigration, via twitter, said that the status of expatriate workers was "checked on site" and that 80 were taken in "for further screening."

Its media official, Hassan Khaleel, told RaajjeMV that the operation was held in the capital "after multiple complaints from the public."

Noting that the 80 individuals are now under arrest, Khaleel said that they "did not have the proper documentation, hence identities were unconfirmed."

He added that arrested are Bangladeshi citizens.

They are being held at the detention center in Hulhumalé, while the Immigration completes the necessary procedures to deport them out of the country.

Back in January, Immigration Controller General Mohamed Ahmed Hussain said that there is a total of 144,607 expatriate workers in the Maldives, and that 63,000 are undocumented.

The department launched 'Operation Stingray' on 2 January, "to minimize the undocumented migrants." It is to be carried for a one-year period.

The atmosphere at Penang Sentral in Malaysia turned tensed when the Penang Immigration Department carried out a surprise operation to nab illegal immigrants, reports Malaysian national news agency Bernama.

Several passengers tried to flee the scene at the bus station which was packed due to the Chinese New Year holidays when they sensed the presence of enforcement officers while many seemed puzzled about the commotion.

Penang Immigration Operations Division chief Izham Idris said 976 foreigners were inspected in the five-hour operation which began at 9am.

“Seventy illegal immigrants were arrested for various offences, including failing to submit travel documents or valid visit passes, as well as for overstaying and misusing their visit passes,“ he said on Wednesday.

Those arrested comprised 24 men and three women from Myanmar, 24 Bangladeshi men, 10 Indonesians including five women, a man and three women from Vietnam, four Nepali men and a man from India.

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