A Malaysia Ringgit note is seen in this illustration photo June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration

PETALING JAYA – A raid on a prominent massage and spa outlet to flush out foreigners involved in vice left enforcement officers baffled when they found millions of ringgit in the premises, raising questions about the source of the money and its purpose.

Soon after the raid in the wee hours of Friday on the seafront Promenade Hotel off Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, the immigration party were led to an apartment nearby where another substantial amount of cash was seized.

Immigration authorities in Sabah and Putrajaya have remained tight-lipped over the seizure, but one source told Malay Mail that police assistance was being sought.

About 20 people, including several men, were arrested in the raid on the hotel spa.

“Three were locals while the rest were foreign women believed to be from China, Indonesia and the Philippines,” said the source.

The raiding party found the cash hidden in the bar storage area.

“The questioning of individuals detained in the raid led officers to the apartment where the cash was found.”

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Ramli Din declined to give details, saying it was an Immigration Department operation.

Pressed further, he confirmed a police report had been lodged but declined further comment as investigations were ongoing and more arrests were expected.

The raiding party arrived at the business hotel at about 1am and surprised employees and customers.

They searched the premises and found some foreign women hiding in secret compartments and behind false walls.

The shocker was not some of the scantily dressed women but the cash lode.

“The police were called in as no one expected such a seizure and to ensure nothing went missing,” a source said.

Before dawn, word had spread like wildfire about the huge cash seizures.

The cash was immediately transferred under heavy security to the state police headquarters to enable investigators to tally the amount.

At press time, the amount was RM13 million and officers were still counting while additional raids continued in Kota Kinabalu.

– Malay mail