300 migrants arrested in raid in Kuala Lumpur

Jan 9, 2009 (DVB), Around 300 Burmese migrant workers were arrested in a raid by Malaysian police and immigration authorities on Wednesday, according to Burmese activists giving assistance to migrant workers in the country.

The raid took place on Wednesday morning at Pasar Budaya market, also known as Central market, a well known attraction in Kuala Lumpur.

Maung Maung Oo of the National League for Democracy (Liberated Area) in Malaysia said those who were working legally in the country or registered refugees were later released.

"Police and immigration officials raided the market around 10am on Wednesday morning and about 300 Burmese migrants, some with legal documents and some without them, were arrested.""About 100 people who had legal work permits or UNHCR refugee documents were later released."

Representatives of the Malaysian authorities were unavailable for comment.

In April last year, Malaysian authorities cracked down on migrants in the country, forcing many to go into hiding.

At that time, many of the raids were conducted by groups of volunteers who had been given powers to arrest illegal migrants and handed over them over to the authorities in exchange for a reward.

Many migrants working legally and registered refugees were also arrested in the crackdown.

Reporting by Ahunt Phone Myat

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