Malaysian authorities have detained a total of 48 illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and Indonesia after intercepting three vessels acting suspiciously in waters near the coast of Malacca during the weekend.

The first boatload was spotted by a Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency team near the Malaysian Maritime Academy in Kuala Sungai Baru at 2:30am on Saturday, Nanyang Siang Pau (Malaysia) reported.

Officers said that 30 Bangladeshi men aged between 20 and 59 were seen leaving the boat, while an Indonesian man and woman prepared to board and return to Indonesia. Lacking valid travel documents, they were all arrested for illegally entering or leaving Malaysia.

In a separate incident, illegal immigrants on two vessels were stopped as they tried to flee from maritime authorities in waters near Teluk Kemang beach in Port Dickson, and 11 men and five women from Indonesia were arrested. They were aged between 18 and 52.

Police seized two abandoned vehicles that were to be used to take the immigrants to a hideaway.

Investigations into both cases are continuing under the 2017 Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants law.