PASIR MAS, July 5 — The General Operations Force (GOF) South-east Brigade has reported an increase in various cross-border crime activities in Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang from January to June 31 compared to the same period last year.

Its commander, SAC Hasan Basri Ahmad Safar said the GOF thwarted 296 cases with 252 arrests and involving seizures worth over RM10.2 million from January to June 31, 2020.

“But from January to June 31 this year, the GOF foiled 464 cross-border crimes by detaining 458 individuals and seizing smuggled items worth over RM33.2 million, which is an increase of 224 per cent compared to last year,” he said at an Op Benteng media conference at the Lubuk Setol GOF Tactical Headquarters here, today.

He also said that the highest number of cases recorded this year were under the Customs Act 1967 and the Control of Padi and Rice Act 1994, with both having 79 cases and seizures exceeding RM3.5 million and RM1.9 million respectively.

Meanwhile, the highest goods seizures involved cases under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, which recorded a value in excess of RM13.7 million with 64 cases, he said.

Hasan Basri said that among the other cross-border crime activities which GOF had also thwarted during the period were under the Poisons Act 1952 (42 cases and seizures worth RM3.4 million) and Animals Act 1953 (18 cases and seizures worth RM2.15 million).

Asked what prompted these cross-border criminal activities, he did not rule out the possibility that it was due to the pressure of having to sustain their livelihoods in the face of the current Covid-19 pandemic.

“However, we will continue to monitor and tighten security control at the nation’s entry gates to ensure the smuggling activities can be eradicated,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said the GOF had also detained 135 illegals from various countries and 19 skippers as well as seized 15 vehicles used to smuggle in the illegals through the Op Benteng during the first half of this year.

Commenting on the pioneer Op Bersepadu project between the GOF and the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) that was launched on June 16, Hasan Basri said 13 smuggling attempts were thwarted, with seizures worth RM318,459.96, through the collaboration, to date.

“Six men were also detained and seven vehicles seized through this project, which will be conducted until July 16,” he said, adding that a review of Op Bersepadu would be conducted before it is implemented on a permanent basis. — Bernama