A building in Macau's Porto Interior area. Photo: Google Maps

Macau police say they caught five illegal immigrants from Vietnam trying to swim to the nearby mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai on Sunday night in search of work.

Police received a report that five men had jumped into the sea at Porto Interior and were swimming in the direction of Zhuhai, Today Macao reported.

Customs officers sent a patrol launch to intercept them and pulled the five men, aged between 25 and 45, from the sea. They were arrested and sent to the Macau Customs Department’s headquarters.

The men told the officers that they could not jobs in Macau so they tried to swim to Zhuhai to look for work.

As two of them were two-time illegal immigrants, they were sent to a tribunal and sentenced to four months in jail.

The other three men were sent to the Judiciary Police for further investigation.