Thursday, November 5, 2015

Malaysian authorities deny KLIA transited Lebanese illegals

Charles Ramendran

KUALA LUMPUR: Authorities here are in the dark over a claim by German police that Malaysia was used as a transit point by a human trafficking syndicate that smuggled foreigners to Germany using counterfeit travel documents.

In a report by a foreign wire news agency yesterday, German police had apparently held 17 suspects including a 24-year-old mastermind in three states in a large scale operation that involved hundreds of police personnel.

The syndicate had earned about 10,000 euros (RM46,000) from each foreigner mainly Syrians and Lebanese it helped sneak into Germany.

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The activities of the syndicate came to light after it facilitated the travel of a Lebanese family of 10 members who had landed in Malaysia recently and were held up at the KL International Airport (KLIA) after local authorities found them to be using falsified travel documents.

However, the report claimed that the Lebanese were allowed to resume they journey to Germany after the German Embassy and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office here intervened after being contacted by the foreigners.

UNHCR and tops brass of the police and immigration department here when contacted denied knowledge on encountering such case at the KLIA.

"We have no knowledge of such case taking place here. I would have been notified if it had happened," said Immigration Department Director-General Datuk Mustafa Ibrahim when contacted by theSun.

Officials of UNHCR Kuala Lumpur when contacted also said it was unaware of the case.

Malaysia has been in on the international radar of human trafficking crimes was in the news last year after it slipped to Tier 3 from Tier 2 in a downgrade by the US State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons report.

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However, in July this year, the US upgraded Malaysia to Tier 2 again after the State Department said "that while Malaysia does not fully meet minimum standards to eliminate trafficking, it was making significant efforts to do so."

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