Smugglers, traffickers pose health threat too

The Sarawak-Kalimantan border hides numerous rat trails which are used by smugglers and human traffickers.

MIRI: Sarawak is worried that cargo smugglers and human traffickers from neighbouring Kalimantan may bring more Covid-19 cases into the state.

The state Disaster Relief Committee secretariat, in its latest updates, said there were many illegals freely coming in and out of Sarawak via “jalan tikus” (small and hidden jungle trails) and “jalan gajah” (large pathways) along the Kalimantan-Sarawak border.

These are routes being used not only to bring illegal workers to Sarawak but also to smuggle in goods for sale here, the secretariat said.

“These smugglers and human traffickers are not just security threats to us but they also pose a health threat as they can bring more Covid-19 cases into our state.

“These trails need to be given urgent attention by our security forces, ” it said.

Over the past weekend, the police, army, Immigration and General Operation Force teams carried out checks throughout Sarawak to locate these illegals.

“The checks were carried out in plantations, construction sites, industrial sites and business premises statewide.

“So far, 187 illegals have been arrested, ” the secretariat said.

There had been nine smuggling cases detected over the past few months and some RM12.6mil worth of goods had been confiscated from these smugglers, it said.

The security forces and Immigration teams were intensifying their operations to weed out these illegals, it added.

They were also stepping up efforts to identify and plug “jalan tikus” and “jalan gajah”.

The main entry points at the Sarawak-Kalimantan border are at the Immigration checkpoints in Tebedu and Serikin in southern Sarawak and Bakelalan in northern Sarawak.

However, there are many illegal entry routes along the 1,000km-long porous mountainous border.

Sarawak has seen 19 Covid-19 deaths and about 760 positive infections so far.

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