43 Chin Refugees Arrested in Immigration Raid
By Salai Za Uk Ling
16 Dec 2006 – Kuala Lumpur: 43 Chin refugees and asylum seekers were among over one hundred ‘illegal migrants’ arrested by Malaysian immigration this morning at a construction worksite in Jahor Baru.
At about 11 a.m. this morning, Malaysian immigration officials raided a construction worksite in Jahor Baru near the Singaporean border where more than 120 Chins were working. But the majority of the Chin workers evaded arrest by hiding inside the multi-storied building. “We had to hide in the ceiling for hours to evade arrest,” says one of the workers who did not have any legal document.
Those arrested in the raid include 43 Chins and 5 Rohingyas, as well as Indonesian and Vietnamese migrants. “The majority of us have UNHCR cards saying that we are recognized refugees, but the immigration arrested us anyway,” says one of the detainees who spoke to Chinland Guardian on a mobile phone from the immigration office where they are temporarily housed.
Speaking on the phone with Suaram, UNHCR personnel described the raid as “very sad,” especially given that it happened so close to Christmas. “Because it happened during the weekend when the office is closed UNHCR will only able to send representatives to the detention center on Monday,” he said.