500 Myanmar nationals 'swim' into Malaysia

2013-01-01 09:00
Kuala Lumpur - At least 500 Myanmar nationals swam the last 500m to enter Malaysia illegally at the end of a 15-day boat journey at the weekend, leaving one dead, police said on Tuesday.

Police told AFP they had so far found 482 people, including the captain of the 30-metre vessel, since Sunday and are looking for a "handful" more still hiding out on the northwestern island of Langkawi in the Malacca Straits.

They are believed to be one of the largest groups of Rohingya Muslims to have reached Malaysia this year after fleeing sectarian violence at home.

Police said the immigrants claimed to have paid $300 each to an agent in troubled Rakhine for the trip, which media reports said left most of them ill with some requiring hospital care.

Langkawi police chief Harrith Kam Abdullah said the captain of the boat was arrested on Monday but he had denied any knowledge of payments to an agent.

The Star newspaper also reported that one man was killed after being hit by the boat's propellers when he jumped into sea and had been buried at a Muslim cemetery in Langkawi on Monday.

The immigrants have been handed over to the immigration department to be processed at detentions centres nationwide.

Clashes between Buddhists and the Rohingya in Myanmar have left scores of people dead and displaced more than 115 000 people since June.

Thousands have sought refuge in Malaysia, a largely Muslim country that has a big Rohingya population, estimated to number about 23 000 by the United Nations' refugee agency.

Malaysia's maritime agency said last month it "rescued" 40 Myanmar shipwreck survivors, who are thought to be Muslim Rohingya, who had been denied entry to Singapore.

Read more on:    myanmar  |  malaysia

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

When you combine environment, entrepreneurship and technology its pure genius. Meet the genius behind Eco-Fuel Africa, Sanga Moses.



China's air pollution at doomsday levels
Hurricanes, earthquakes and floods – What climate change really means for us
Moving short film on ivory trade
10 Tips for Greener Shopping

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

The pace may be slow today and you may struggle to get things off the ground level, but it is important to focus on the structure...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.