Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said the syndicate operated from a residential location to avoid enforcement authorities as the premises were tightly guarded and only registered visitors were allowed in.
He said initial investigations revealed that the syndicate was linked to an international network and that the arrests would unearth other networks operated by foreigners with the help of locals.
"The syndicate is believed to have been active for two months, offering sexual services through the WeChat application, and charging between RM240 and RM350 for each walk-in and out-call sessions at hotels determined by the client," he added in a statement here Friday.
Acting on information from locals, Mustafar said the Penang Immigration Department's action unit carried out the raid jointly with the Putrajaya's enforcement division.
Also seized were RM12,629 in cash and two cars – a Mercedes Benz and a Proton Exora – suspected to have been used for the illegal activities.
"Initial investigations revealed some of the women had entered Malaysia on social visit passes while others did not have valid travel documents," he said, adding the suspects were being investigated under the Immigration Act and the Anti-trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act. – Bernama