Malaysian police fired tear gas to break up a riot in a detention center for illegal migrants. Most of the 2,000 illegal migrants are Indonesians and are due to be deported from Malaysia later this week.
Malaysian news media say the detainees set fire to several buildings in the detention center, by first burning pieces of cloth. Explosions could be heard as the buildings went up in flames. Witnesses say some of the inmates later began throwing stones at each other. About 30 people suffered minor injuries in the riot. The migrants have since been then transferred to other detention centers. The riot came days before the 2,000 detainees were to be deported. The majority of the migrants are from neighboring Indonesia, but there were also Bangladeshis, Thais and Vietnamese at the detention center. Last month, Malaysia conducted its largest deportation ever of illegal migrants sending back around 2,500 Indonesians on two ships, escorted by the Indonesian Navy. Malaysia is one of Southeast Asia's wealthiest countries, making it an attractive destination for migrants from poorer nations in search of jobs. Neighboring Indonesia, for instance, suffers from financial problems and political instability.
Malaysia says it would begin deporting up to 300,000 illegal migrants working in the country in an effort to protect jobs for local workers.