Smuggling syndicates use 'rat trails' along Sg Golok to smuggle migrants
Last Update: 10/10/2019
PASIR MAS, Oct 10 -- It is a lucrative business smuggling illegal immigrants and with each individual or “head” costing up to RM3,000, smugglers are more than willing to take the chance to bring them into the country despite knowing the risks they face with the authorities.
Making use of several rat trails along the Kelantan-Thailand border, the smugglers often take advantage of the opportunities relying on “tontos” or touts whom they hire.
The General Operations Force Seventh Battalion (PGA7) commanding officer, Supt Azhari Nusi, said the immigrant smugglers would often use “not so accessible” routes in the border area to avoid detection.
He said the immigrants were usually brought through a rat trail from the border, then taken on a boat across the Gungai Golok after which they board a vehicle that would be already waiting for them.
“They are squeezed into the vehicle. If they come in small numbers, the smugglers will use cars, but in most cases, they will use a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV).
“The latest case busted this afternoon was a Naza Ria MPV carrying 23 Myanmar nationals near an illegal base in Kertas, Ranatu Panjang,” he said when contacted today.
Azhari said their interrogations revealed that each illegal immigrant had paid RM3,000 to a human trafficking agent for them to be sent to Ipoh, Perak.
“Based on the surveillance and intelligence that is being carried out, many of the illegal bases and the rat trails along Sungai Golok are somewhat covered and not within view.
“We are not denying that local residents are also conspiring with these smuggling syndicates and are allowing their land and property to be used as a route for the illegal immigrants,” he said.
Azhari said the authorities knew that smuggling syndicates were constantly changing tactics but his team would intensify operations to counteract their activities.
“Since Sept 15, there were 33 illegal immigrants who had been detained including four women. They were all Myanmar nationals who were to be sent to specific locations in the country to work in either the agriculture or construction sectors,” he said.
Azhari said in order to address this, the PGA7 branches in Kuala Jambu, Rantau Panjang and Jeram Perdah, would increase their operations and tighten control at the illegal bases along the Kelantan-Thailand border.