Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers arrested four Malaysians for allegedly smuggling a woman out of Singapore via a car.
The officers at Woodlands Checkpoint stopped a Malaysia-registered car on February 28 at around 7.45 pm. As mentioned ICA in a social media post, the car was driven by a 42-year-old woman and there was another female passenger, both were identified as Malaysian citizens.
But, when the officers were searching the car, they found another woman, who was hiding in the car boot. After checking, the officers came to know that the woman had no identification documents in her possession.
Later, the ICA officers noticed another Malaysia-registered car at the post-immigration area and its engine was still on.
"Suspecting that the idling car was involved with the one hiding the fugitive and might attempt to escape, the vigilant officers swiftly activated a lockdown of the checkpoint at 8.03 pm," ICA said.
However, the lockdown was lifted at around 8.10 pm after the male driver and the female passenger of the idling car taken into the custody.
After conducting a primary investigation, it was revealed that the Malaysian drivers and the passengers of both the cars, knew each other and was conspiring to commit an offence. All those Malaysian citizens were arrested immediately, including the woman who was hiding in the car boot. Later, the officers found out that the woman was also a Malaysian.
"The four Malaysians, aged between 29 and 42, were charged on March 2 for the offence of engaging in the business of conveying prohibited immigrants out of Singapore. The Myanmar national was also charged for illegal entry and attempted illegal departure offences," said ICA.
They also added that the authority takes "a serious view of attempts to enter or depart Singapore illegally. Under the Immigration Act (Cap 133), the penalties for illegal entry are a jail term of up to six months and a minimum of three strokes of the cane, while penalties for illegal departure are a fine of up to $1,000, a jail term of up to six months, or both. For engaging in the business of conveying prohibited immigrants out of Singapore, offenders will face a jail term of between two to five years and a minimum of three strokes of the cane. The vehicles used in such offences are liable to be forfeited."