An illegal homestay operator (right) picking up customers in Kuala Lumpur recently. PIC BY MOHAMAD SHAHRIL BADRI SAALI

KUALA LUMPUR: IMMIGRATION officers arrested 28 Bangladeshis in Jalan Imbi here yesterday for illegally operating luxury homestays in the area.

The group was said to be getting rich from the proceeds of their illegal operation, but their scheme came to an end when the Immigration Department’s Quick Response Team raided the area at 11.30pm.

The raid came following an exclusive New Straits Times Press (NSTP) report last week.

Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said investigations showed the foreigners not only ran the homestays, but also employed illegal immigrants.

“Investigations revealed that there were five companies running the operation and these companies were owned by foreigners. The group rented apartments and used these premises as homestays.

“Each of the operators ran 20 apartments, and advertised them on social media and the Internet. These apartments were rented out for between RM150 and RM250 a night.”

Mustafar said the department’s officers seized RM29,000 from the foreigners, access cards for the apartments and documents.

“The premises were well stocked. We found bedsheets, bath towels, soaps, toothbrushes and trolleys, which the operators supplied for the apartments.”

Checks by the NSTP showed that most of those who rented the apartments were tourists from the Middle East.

It is understood that those who rented them did so because the accommodation was well-maintained and luxurious, but at a lower price than hotels in the city.

Bookings were made via mobile phone.

It is understood that each of the operators could earn up to RM9,000 a month, but would have to pay between RM2,000 and RM3,000 to the owners of the premises. — Reports by Safeek Affendy Razali, Hafidzul Hilmi Mohd Noor and Nasaruddin Parzi

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