10 smuggling 'rat routes' identified along Kelantan-Thai border


RANTAU PANJANG: Authorities here have identified 10 ‘rat routes’ used by smugglers along the Kelantan-Thai border during the monsoon season.

The routes, which fall under Ops Wawasan and Ops Merpati areas, were uncovered beginning June this year and will likely be favoured by smugglers between now and the end of the year.

“The incidence of smuggling increased in June and has remained steady due to a demand for commodities such as rice.

“Smugglers are able to use the rat routes because during the monsoon season, the Golok river rises, making it easy for them to transfer contraband goods (via alternative, temporary passages),” Eighth Infantry Brigade commander Brig Gen Muhammad Huzaimi Sabri told a press conference at the Tok Oh post here, today.

Also present was 3rd border regiment battalion commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Ramli Noor.

To prepare for the rise in smuggling activity, Muhammad Huzaimi said all soldiers currently manning 129 kilometres of the border from Pengkalan Kubor (Tumpat) to Jeli have been ordered to beef up their operations.

“More than 300 soldiers involved in Ops Wawasan and Ops Merpati were instructed to conduct 24-hour operations during this period,” he said.

On a related matter, Muhammad Huzaimi said various smuggled items worth nearly RM200,000 were recently seized in a series of operations along border areas.

He said ketum leaves, rice and diesel fuel top the list of smuggled items confiscated in operations which began on Aug 2.

However, Muhammad Huzaimi said no arrest was made in the operation, which ended last week. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd