Malaysia has arrested 16 people of an alleged human trafficking syndicate after stopping a ship carrying 127 Sri Lankans (Illustrative image. Source: Reuters/VNA)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) –
Malaysia has arrested 16 people of an alleged human trafficking syndicate after stopping a ship carrying 127 Sri Lankans believed to be bound for Australia and New Zealand.

Local police said on May 6 that they halted a tanker named “Etra” in Malaysia’s territorial waters off southern Johor state, which was making its way to international waters.

The arrestees include four Malaysians and three Indonesians on a fishing vessel used to transport the Sri Lankans from the Johor coast to the aforesaid tanker.

Another four Malaysians were arrested in the nearby state capital of Johor Bahru, while a fifth was taken into custody in Penang.

Four Sri Lankan men were arrested aboard the tanker for suspected involvement in the trafficking network, which had been operating since 2017.

The remaining 127 passengers on the tanker, including 24 women and nine children, were also detained for violating immigration laws.-VNA