KUALA LUMPUR: Several weaknesses in enforcement and inspection along the 640km Malaysia-Thailand border have been identified as factors for the increase in smuggling activities, said Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department deputy director (Intelligence/ Operations) Datuk Mazlan Mansor.
Police intelligence, he said, found that inspections along the Malaysia-Thailand border area were carried out at random, allowing criminals to smuggle firearms into the country easily.
However, Mazlan said the security forces should not be blamed as they were forced to resort to doing random inspections by the rapid economic growth along the border area.
“There was a time when a security team comprising police and Customs personnel would carry out detailed inspections on buses and lorries, causing kilometres of traffic jams.
“As a result, local residents and business communities lodged reports and complaints against us,” he said.
The existence of illegal routes near the border in Sungai Golok, he said, had also helped increase smuggling activities.
“The Golok river is not that wide. During the non-monsoon period, people can cross the river easily without using a boat. This is one of the factors that has increased smuggling activities in the country,” he said.
To overcome the problem, Mazlan said the Government should take concrete action to empower border enforcement besides enhancing several existing regulations and laws.
The police, he added, had also come up with new strategies, including strengthening its intelligence operations along the border as well as increasing cooperation with the Armed Forces, Customs Department and the Anti-Smuggling Unit.
Lauding the implementation of the crime prevention operation, Ops Cantas Khas, he said this had deterred violent crimes.
A total of 573 smuggled firearms were seized during the operation, including 212 semi-automatic pistols, 134 home-made pistols, 80 revolvers, 15 hand grenades, 14 pump guns and 71 air pistols.
Proposing for all law enforcement agencies along the border to reinforce each other, Mazlan said they also needed to exchange information with the Thai authorities.
“I think the relevant authorities can launch a psychological war to educate the public, especially along the border area, not to deal with the smugglers,” he said. — Bernama