A total of 84 illegal Indonesian immigrants were detained in a raid in Tawau, Malaysia, on October 5. The undocumented people included 43 men, 28 women and 13 children, bernama.com reported, citing Mohammed Nazri Ibrahim, the commander of the Marine Police (PPM) in Tawau.

The 84 were among 150 people interrogated at three locations – Pulau Sidam, Sungai Simandalan Wallace Bay and Kampung Hidayat Batu.

The operation was jointly carried out by the Marine Police, the General Operations Force and the Immigration Department in two phases between 7am and 11pm.

According to Ibrahim, the inter-agency operation first raided seaweed cultivation areas in Pulau Sidam and squatter houses in Sungai Simandalan. Phase 2 was a raid on Kampung Air Hidayat Batu 4.

Those detained were accused of violating the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007. Ibrahim added the coordination among the three agencies would resume in the future to tackle human trafficking and smuggling in the area.

Months earlier, the Malaysian Immigration Department launched a scheme which allowed illegal immigrants to voluntarily surrender and return to their countries with no repercussions.