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88 migrants who escaped from Malaysian detention centre still at large

BANDAR BAHARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia authorities are on the hunt for 88 undocumented migrants who are still roaming the country after escaping from an Immigration detention centre in the north on Wednesday (April 20).

Kedah police chief Commissioner Wan Hassan Wan Ahmad said the police will continue the operation to find the escapees comprising 71 men, nine women and eight children.

"We will continue efforts to find the remaining detainees in the surrounding areas," he said at a news conference after attending an event on Friday (April 22).

Mr Wan Hassan said the manhunt involves 287 officers and personnel from the Kedah, Penang and Perak police contingents.

He said that besides the police contingents, the General Operations Force - the paramilitary arm of the police - has also been deployed to help in the operation.

"The manhunt will also involve air surveillance, canine police teams, roadblocks and assistance from other agencies as well," he said.

By midnight on Thursday (April 21), 448 escaped detainees who had been captured had been transferred to four separate Immigration depots - Langkap in Perak, Machap Umboo in Melaka, and Semenyih and Bukit Jalil in Selangor.

On Wednesday, a protest at around 5am at the Relau detention centre by Rohingya detainees quickly turned into a riot.

During the escape, six detainees, including two children, were killed on the southbound side of the North-South Expressway while trying to cross the highway near Jawi.

Commissioner Wan Hassan warned villagers not to harbour the escapees, saying that those who were found could be prosecuted under the law.

"We believe the escapees are hungry now, and if they come to ask for assistance, please alert the police who have been stationed in all areas in the vicinity," he said.

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