Four men and one woman of Filipino origin – arrested in Sabah by Malaysian Immigration officials during a raid on Wednesday – have been accused of being involved in a document forgery syndicate.

The five, aged from 14 to 52, were arrested early on Wednesday morning by Immigration officers at a squatter house at Batu 7, Jalan Labuk, in Sandakan, according to a report in Nanyang Siang Pau on Friday, which cited an Immigration Department statement issued on Thursday.

Two of those arrested held Malaysian permanent residence identity cards, while one has a birth certificate. The remaining two did not have any identity documents.

Immigration officers seized false documents during the operation, including 14 copies of entry permits, 15 copies of IMM12 documents, seven copies of entry permit payment receipts and two copies of a refugee status confirmation letter for the Sandakan Federal Special Task Force.

They also seized a dozen of identity card approval letters from the Sabah National Registration Department, three MyKads (Malaysian identity cards) and 70 passport-sized photographs, The Straits Times reported.

The syndicate charged people up to RM1,500 (US$354) for a set of application documents, according to the official statement.