Immigration officers in Malaysia have detained 31 Vietnamese women for working illegally in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.
A high-end entertainment center in Cheras, a district southeast of the capital city, was raided Saturday morning by police acted on “tip-offs” that many foreigners were working illegally.
The Saturday raid, part of an anti-illegal immigration operation dubbed Op Gegar, netted 31 Vietnamese women, aged between 20 and 40, four Malaysian women and four Bangladeshi men, the MalayMail newspaper reported Sunday.
The Vietnamese women are believed to have entered the country using social visit passes and worked illegally as guest relation officers at the facility, where they could earn up to RM500 ($120) a day in tips, police said.
The detainees failed to provide valid personal identification documents and their passports indicated they’d overstayed their time in Malaysia, the newspaper said, citing immigration officials.
All foreigners are being held under provisions of the “Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrant Act,” the report said.
People in Southeast Asia can travel across the region without having to apply for a visa, but they are only allowed to stay for 30 days as tourists.
In recent years, Vietnamese workers, mainly women, have visited neighboring countries like Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia and stayed on to work illegally.
Many have been caught, detained and deported.
On October 4, Malaysian police nabbed 24 Vietnamese sex workers at an entertainment facility in Kuala Lumpur’s Putraraya city. They were being paid RM160 ($40) for a “45-minute package.”