Customs mulls more drones for border patrols

PORT KLANG: The Royal Malaysian Customs Department plans to get seven more drones to carry out border surveillance, especially to identify illegal jetties used by smugglers.

Kelantan Customs Department senior assistant director Md Erwan Sahran Isa, however, declined to elaborate, saying that the matter was being discussed by the department’s top management.

He said the additional drones would be stationed especially at the borders of Perlis, Kedah, Johor, as well as Sabah and Sarawak.

“Drones are used as the ‘first target’ (to identify any suspicious activity) before action is taken on arrival at the location, ” he said during a demonstration on the use of drones by the Customs Department in Pulau Ketam recently.

He said drones were used more for surveillance and early detection of smuggling activities along the country borders.

“We use drones for surveillance at Sungai Golok and along the border from Bukit Bunga to Pengkalan Kubor in Kelantan.

“Drones are also used to gather evidence, by way of getting images or videos which are recorded.

“The videos and images will then be used to build a case and presented as evidence in court, ” he said.

According to Md Erwan, the Customs Department has been using drones since 2016.

He said the department currently had five drone units, two of them at the Kelantan office and the other three at the Customs headquarters in Putrajaya.

When its drones detect other criminal activities, he said the information would be passed on to the relevant authorities for action.

“For example, in Kelantan, we will share information with the police if our drone detects any cross-border criminal activity or illegal bases in Sungai Golok, ” he added. — Bernama

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