Batam, Riau Islands (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Navy thwarted attempts to smuggle 17 illegal migrant workers to Malaysia in Batam waters on Saturday night.

The Batam IV Main Naval Base Commander, Commodore Kemas M Ikhwan Madani, said in a statement received on Sunday that they also arrested three people suspected of being the organizers of the smuggling.

He explained that the attempts were thwarted in two different embarkation locations in Batam waters, namely Tiban in Sekupang District and Batam Center in Batam Kota District.

"The two groups were arrested at different times and in different places, but on the same day," he said.

The first group, which departed from Tiban and comprised nine people, was arrested in Bokor Island waters. Two people who were suspected of being the perpetrators of the smuggling were then arrested.

"Then, eight prospective undocumented Indonesian migrant workers and one person who was suspected of being the perpetrator of smuggling were arrested in Batam Center waters on a small motor boat when they were about to depart for Malaysia," he said.

According to Madani, the prospective migrant workers came from several regions, including Aceh, Batam in Riau Islands, Surakarta in Central Java, Sumenep in East Java, and East Nusa Tenggara.

"When questioned, some of these prospective undocumented Indonesian migrant workers stated that they would be taken from Batam to Malaysia by paying Rp6 million (around US$402.63) to Rp12 million (around US$805.27)," he said.

The 17 people and the suspected organizers will be sent to the authorized institution through the Indonesian Migrant Workers' Protection Agency (BP2MI) of Batam.

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Translator: Ilham Yude, Raka Adji
Editor: Anton Santoso
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