KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 — Poor security, rapid economic growth and the frequent movement of people at the Malaysia-Thailand border are among factors that contribute to the increase in smuggling activities, especially firearms.
The length of the Malaysia-Thailand border is 640km — 551km being the land border and the remaining is the maritime border.
According to Oriental Daily, most of the syndicates chose the maritime border for their smuggling activities.
Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department deputy director (Intelligence/Operations) Datuk Mazlan Mansor noted that weakness in border enforcement and lack of inspection could be factors that had contributed to the increase in smuggling activities across the two countries.
“We do not perform 24-hour inspections at the Malaysia-Thailand border. This has provided criminals the avenue to smuggle firearms in and out of the country,” he said.
However, Mazlan said the public should not blame security forces alone as they were forced to only perform random inspections due to the rapid economic growth at the border area.
“In the past, police and customs personnel conducted detailed inspections on buses and lorries, which caused massive traffic jams at the checkpoint,” he said.
“This led to many complaints and reports lodged against us by residents and business communities.”
Mazlan said the existence of rat routes near the border in Sungai Golok had also contributed to the increase in smuggling activities.
“Though it is not a big area, people can cross the river easily without using a boat when it is not the monsoon season.”
He said stern action must be taken to overcome the problem.
“Police have formulated new strategies including strengthening intelligence operations at the border, and enhancing cooperation with the Armed Forces, Customs Department and the Anti-Smuggling Unit.”
Mazlan said 573 smuggled firearms had been seized so far, including 212 semi-automatic pistols, 134 home-made pistols, 80 revolvers, 15 hand grenades, 14 pump-guns and 71 air pistols.
“While enhancing the working relationship with different law enforcement agencies, we also would seek cooperation from the Thai authorities.
“It is also important for the authorities to educate the public, especially those residing at the border area not to deal with smugglers,” he said.