Malaysian police stop tanker full of migrants heading to New Zealand

Malaysian police intercepted a tanker full of illegal migrants and bound for Australia and New Zealand
Malaysian police intercepted a tanker full of illegal migrants and bound for Australia and New Zealand Photo credit: Royal Malaysian Police

A rusty tanker crammed with illegal migrants and reportedly bound for Australia and New Zealand has been intercepted by Malaysian police.

In a statement released on Saturday police said the tanker, called Etra, had 98 men, 24 women and nine children on board.

Channel News Asia reported the migrants were from Sri Lanka and were being smuggled by a syndicate that transports people to Australia and New Zealand.

A boat used to transport the migrants to the tanker was also raided and the seven on board were arrested. 

"With these arrests, the Royal Malaysia Police has successfully foiled a large and cunning human smuggling syndicate," said police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun.

"This syndicate has been operating since mid-2017 and has international connections across Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Malaysia," he added.

Newshub

The rusty tanker Etra
The rusty tanker Etra Photo credit: Royal Malaysian Police