Mita Amalia Hapsari, Jakarta – The Indonesian Navy's quick response unit successfully intercepted an attempt to smuggle workers to Malaysia via the sea route near Bintan Island, an officer said on Sunday.
Following a tipoff from concerned community members regarding widespread people smuggling, the unit known as F1QR patrolled the area on Saturday. During their patrol, they observed a high-speed boat heading toward the border.
"The team pursued the suspicious boat and prevented it from crossing the border," Lieutenant Colonel Gita Muharam, Commander of the Bintan Naval Base, said in a statement.
The boat altered its course and headed to the Gentong River in the Tanjung Uban sub-district on the island. It was subsequently abandoned by both its crew members and passengers at a rural port.
The pursuit continued on land, resulting in the arrest of seven illegal workers. Preliminary investigations suggest that the smuggling operation aimed to transport 14 Indonesian workers to Malaysia.
The detainees have been handed over to the Indonesian Migrant Worker Protection Agency.
"The operation is ongoing to locate the boat's crew members and the remaining seven passengers," Gita said.
Additionally, the navy unit seized a boat equipped with a 200-HP Yamaha engine.