RM171mil in goods seized in operations against smuggling, illegal fishing


KUALA LUMPUR: Some RM171.2mil's worth of goods from smuggling activities and illegal fishing have been seized, with 2,129 people arrested this year following various operations conducted nationwide, says Comm Datuk Seri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani.

The Bukit Aman Internal Security and Public Order Department (KDNKA) director said the operations were conducted by the department units – the General Operations Force, the Marine Police and the Special Investigation and Intelligence division between January and June.

"The total value of the seizures this year have already surpassed that of last year, which was RM136.2mil.

"The majority of the goods seized were smuggled contraband, especially cigarettes and alcoholic beverages," he told a press conference in Bukit Aman on Wednesday (July 3).

Among the others goods seized were sand from dredging activities and timber from illegal logging, he added.

Comm Acryl said intelligence gathered showed that there were about four major organised crime syndicates responsible for smuggling activities.

"The goods are smuggled into the country by falsely declaring them as "permitted items" when they are brought to various entry points and ports.

"Some syndicates also use boats to bring the items in through secluded beaches to avoid the authorities," he said.

The suspects arrested were mostly those hired by the syndicates to provide logistical support, including as lorry drivers and storage caretakers, he added.

"They mostly hire locals with just small number of foreigners. The syndicates masterminds will not be on the ground during the smuggling activities, as they will manage the activities remotely," he said.

However, the department has step up their intelligence-gathering effort to uncover the masterminds and leaders of the syndicates, said Comm Acryl.

Besides busting smuggling activities, the department also focused on illegal fishing activities by foreign fishermen, he said.

Between June 17 and June 30, the Marine Police, the Air Unit and the Fisheries Department detained 75 foreigners who illegally fished in Malaysian waters in operations along the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, he added.

"We seized eight foreign boats and a boat owned by a local.

"The total seizures are worth RM5.7mil," he said, adding that the cases were classified under the Fisheries Act 1985.

Comm Acryl said a crew of foreign fishermen detained even resorted to burning their boat.

"We believe they sabotaged the boat prior to being detained.

"As the boat was being towed to shore, the fire broke out. However, no one was hurt as we managed to dispose of the boat safely," he said.

Comm Acryl said operations against smuggling syndicates, as well as illegal fishing, would be intensified.

"These illegal activities are hurting the country's economy. We will focus on busting those involved," he said.

   

Across The Star Online