Illegal immigrants riot in Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Police used tear gas to control around 2,000 illegal immigrants who rioted and set fire to a detention camp in Malaysia, local news reports said.
The illegal immigrants, mostly Indonesians, began rioting late Tuesday at the Pekan Nenas camp in the southern Peninsular Malaysian state of Johor, the New Straits Times reported.
Nearly 30 detainees were injured and several buildings were razed in the riot, the report said.
"The blaze razed four or five blocks that housed the male Indonesian inmates," State Immigration Department official Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Mahmud was quoted as saying by The Sun newspaper.
Mahmud said that more than 1,500 of the rioters were Indonesian, and others included Bangladeshis, Singaporeans, Thais and Vietnamese.
Most were expected to be deported on Saturday, the New Straits Times reported.
Malaysia has been seeking to deport illegal immigrants as a means of easing congestion at prisons and detention centers and a way of reducing government spending.
The government also plans to deport up to 300,000 foreign nationals, many who are working in Malaysia, in order to free up jobs for locals affected by the economic slowdown.
The largest ever deportation of illegal immigrants came last month, when authorities deported up to 2,500 Indonesian workers on two Indonesian naval ships under an armed escort.
Illegal immigration is a big problem for Malaysia, which has a population of 23 million and is a favored destination for workers from its more populous, poorer neighbors including Thailand and Indonesia.
The country is home to more than one million non-Malaysian workers. Most of them come from Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Myanmar and the Philippines.
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