Ditches to keep smuggling at bay

ALOR SETAR: The authorities are stepping up efforts to prevent trans-border smuggling activities by digging huge ditches and installing barbwire fencing, among other measures.

Kedah police chief Comm Datuk Zamri Yahya said there were hundreds of ‘rat trails’ that enable illegal crossings along the Malaysian-Thai border in Kedah and “these must be closed.”

“The rat trails are used frequently by smugglers and we must build barriers to stop the trespass.”

He said most of the passage ways were on large tracts of private land owned by oil palm and rubber plantation companies, and that the authorities were discussing with the landowners to help police and border enforcement agencies close the rat trails located at the perimeters of their land bordering Thailand.

Some of the proposed measures are to build huge drains and erect barbwire fencing, Comm Zamri said.

“We also plan to repair the fencing from Bukit Kayu Hitam stretch to Durian Burung and the fence will be reinforced with barbwire,” he told reporters after chairing the second Special Border Task Force meeting that was attended by heads of various border enforcement agencies including Customs, Immigration, Border Security Agency, National Security Council at Durian Burung, about 75km from here.

The meeting was aimed at improving rapport and cooperation between the various border enforcement agencies in Kedah, as well as discuss measures to counter smuggling activities.

Comm Zamri said smuggling activities at Durian Burung were not as rampant compared to Bukit Kayu Hitam.

“We may have thwarted several smuggling cases, but there were also many cases that we failed to stop because of the rat trails along the border.

“Smuggling activities at Bukit Kayu Hitam and Durian Burung are still under control.

“The Malaysian border fencing is old but still safe and intact and constantly maintained,” he said.

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