Some of the alleged ‘rat routes’ usedby human trafficking syndicates inthe Kelantan-Thailand border. PIX BY FATHIL ASRI

RANTAU PANJANG: Human trafficking syndicates have remained unfazed in the face of heavy punishment as they can reap huge profits from the illegal trade.

It is learnt that they remain active in smuggling immigrants from across the Kelantan-Thailand border on a daily basis.

Sources said the syndicates charged a fee of between RM2,500 and RM3,500 to smuggle in an immigrant from the neighbouring country.

They said the syndicates, whose members were Thais and Malaysians, had continued their activities despite strict enforcement.

“The syndicates are willing to face the risk of arrest because of the profit. From the border, the illegal immigrants will be ferried to destinations such as Kuala Lumpur and Pahang.

“The traffickers will bring in illegal immigrants, mostly from Myanmar and Bangladesh, via Sungai Golok and move along ‘rat routes’ (laluan tikus) before sending them to their next destination in a car or van,” said a source.

The source said the traffickers would normally move at night through isolated areas along the border to avoid detection.

The source said the syndicate members would also change their modus operandi from time to time to confuse the authorities, adding that it was difficult for the authorities to pinpoint their movement as there were more than 150 “rat routes” along the border.

State Malaysian Border Security Agency commander Mohd Asri Yahya said an average of 15 immigrants were believed to be smuggled by the syndicates on a daily basis based on arrest records.

“These syndicates will use isolated areas between Panglima Bayu and Rantau Panjang here as entry points.

“We believe that the syndicates have doubled their illegal human cargo through Sungai Golok during recent floods.”

Asri said the agency would continue its operations, especially at hotspot locations, to curb human trafficking and other smuggling activities.

A random check by the New Straits Times at several “rat routes” here yesterday showed that the areas were empty and there was no border security.

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