Malaysian police have intercepted a tanker with 131 Sri Lankans believed bound for Australia and New Zealand, smashing a large human smuggling ring that has been operating for over a year.
National police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun says authorities halted the tanker on Tuesday off the coast of southern Johor state.
He says the modified tanker carrying the Sri Lankan immigrants included 98 men, 24 women, four boys and five girls.
He says police also raided a fishing boat used to transport the migrants to the vessel and detained three Indonesians and four Malaysians on board. Another five Malaysians were later nabbed for suspected involvement in the smuggling syndicate.