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Malaysia fires immigration staff for aiding criminals

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Malaysia has sacked 15 Immigration Department officers and suspended 14 others after an investigation found personnel had colluded with criminal syndicates to manipulate systems tracking entry and exit, the government has said.

[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia has sacked 15 Immigration Department officers and suspended 14 others after an investigation found personnel had colluded with criminal syndicates to manipulate systems tracking entry and exit, the government has said.

The subterfuge was centred at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and had begun in 2010, the department's director-general, Sakib Kusmi, was quoted saying on Tuesday by state-run Bernama news agency.

Around two dozen other department staff have faced administrative action or were under observation, 63 have been transferred, and criminal charges could be forthcoming, he said.

"The syndicates hacked or breached our system with the help of the involved immigration officers," he said, adding that the activity allowed the criminal networks to manipulate information on who entered or left the country.

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No details on the syndicates, or other specifics on the nature or scope of the sabotage, were mentioned in Bernama's report.

But last week Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi said about 100 people, including both immigration officers and criminal syndicate members, were under investigation by authorities over the security breaches.

The punishments were meted out since February, said Mr Sakib, who added that the immigration department would implement a large-scale transfer of personnel at KLIA to guard against a recurrence.

AFP

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