KUALA LUMPUR: Some RM171.2mil worth of goods have been seized from smuggling activities and illegal fishing for the first six months of this year, says Comm Datuk Seri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani.
The Bukit Aman Internal Security and Public Order Department director said following various operations, it also saw the arrests of 2,129 people nationwide.
Comm Acryl said the operations were conducted by the General Operations Force, marine police and special investigations and intelligence division.
“The total value of the seizures have surpassed that of last year, which was RM136.2mil.
“Majority of the goods were smuggled contraband such as cigarettes and alcoholic beverages,” he told a press conference yesterday.
Among other seizures were sand from dredging activities and timber through illegal logging.
Comm Acryl said intelligence reports 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 through various entry points and ports.
“Some syndicates also use boats via secluded beaches to avoid detection by the authorities,” he said.
He said most of those arrested were hired by the syndicates to provide logistical support, including lorry drivers and storage caretakers.
“They hire mostly locals and a small number of foreigners.
“The masterminds will not be on the ground but manage these illegal activities remotely,” he said.
Comm Acryl said they would step up intelligence gathering efforts to uncover the masterminds and leaders of these syndicates.
He said besides crippling smuggling activities, they also focused on illegal fishing activities by foreigners.
Between June 17 and June 30, marine police, air unit and Fisheries Department had detained 75 foreign fishermen following operations along the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
“We seized eight foreign boats and a local-registered trawler.
“The total seizures are worth RM5.7mil,” he said, adding that the cases were being investigated under the Fisheries Act.
Comm Acryl said in the process of towing away the fishing boats, some of the detained foreigners even resorted to torching them.
“But no one was hurt as we managed to dispose of the boats safely.
“More operations will be carried out against smuggling activities and illegal fishing.
“These illegal activities are hurting the country’s economy. We will focus on nabbing those involved,” he said.