A criminal group which had been allegedly running the official Malaysian Immigration Department’s rehiring program and taking in a profit of 2.2 million ringgit was apprehended on Sunday morning.

A 35-year-old Malaysian national identified only as Abang Is, the leader of the syndicate, reportedly cheated more than 270 foreign job seekers from Southeast Asian countries as well as India and Bangladesh, The Star Online reported.

The group had been operating as a registered travel agency called Growing Global Multiple Business Sd Bhd and had offices in Kajang and Nilai. They were allegedly charging people 8,000 ringgit for the program.

Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali, the director-general of the immigration department, said the Special Tactics Team raided the group’s headquarters after a tip-off.

The Malaysian government provides opportunities for illegal workers to take part in a rehiring program and become legitimate workers. However, the program for 2018 ended in June.

“Despite that, the syndicate convinced the victims that the program was still running,” Mustafar said at a press conference.

The raids on the organisation took place between August 12 and 13 in Kajang and Nilai, where they detained Abang Is. Authorities also arrested an accomplice of India origin, as well as three Bangladeshis who were undocumented. Two cars were also seized during the operation.