Five Indonesian men were arrested on suspicion of prostitution in Georgetown, Penang in Malaysia on Monday (8 April), according to local media.
Five suspects, aged between 20 and 40, were found naked at a hotel, according to BH Online.
Penang’s State Enforcement Department Head, Kholijah Mohamad, said the suspects were offering sex through online applications.
He said the raid had been carried out based on intelligence from the immigration department, the paper reports.
Police reportedly seized condoms, lubricant, cash, and passports in the raid.
Kholijah said they could be prosecuted under immigration rules for ‘immoral behavior’.
He told a press conference the men were from Indonesia but traveled to neighboring Malaysia to sell sex to other men.
They reportedly charged between US$35 to $60 per hour.
Indonesia and Malaysia
Both Indonesia and Malaysia have recently seen crackdowns on their LGBTI communities.
Leaders in the two Muslim-majority nations have whipped up religious fundamentalism to persecute the community.
A Malaysian MP last month raised concerns in parliament over LGBT content on Netflix.
Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia. A colonial-era law punishes gay sex with up to 20 years in prison.
Shariah courts following Islamic law run parallel to the secular judiciary. The country’s tourism minister claimed the country had no homosexuals.
Police have raided gay clubs and arrested individuals.
Gay sex is not illegal nationwide in Indonesia. But, since January 2016, Indonesian authorities have been using blasphemy, pornography and public nuisance laws to arrest LGBTI citizens.
Indonesia’s national broadcasting commission has also banned LGBT content from TV and radio.
Although Indonesia does not ban gay sex, except for in one province with sharia law, it offers no legal protections for LGBTI people.
Last month, University officials ordered a student news website shut down its entire operation after it published a fictional same-sex romance story.