Some of the smugglers use the Sungai Golok to transport contraband. Pic by SHARIFAH MAHSINAH ABDULLAH

RANTAU PANJANG : Cross-border smugglers are more brazen despite facing high risks from the swift currents of Sungai Golok during the rainy season here.

It has been spotted that local and Thai smugglers keep on transporting contraband on boats despite the swollen river, which is the natural Malaysia-Thailand border, here.

A check by the New Straits Times at few illegal jetties today showed that a few smugglers were busy loading contraband into boats to be shipped across the river.

A resident who only wanted to be known as Mat said the smugglers continued with their activities as the high water level had eased their work.

"When the water level rises, the pontoon will float nearer to another. So, the smuggling trip across the river will be faster.

"The smugglers are willing to face the risk of boat capsize as long as their business is not interrupted.

"Their income will normally double this time," said Mat when met at an illegal jetty here.

The 35-year-old said the smugglers were also undeterred by the presence of many border enforcement officers.

"They (smugglers) know that they will unlikely be chased by soldiers who are stationed along the border when the boats sail in the swollen river," he said.

Meanwhile, many residents along the river were seen making preparations to evacuate as the river was about to overflow its banks.

It was also observed that passenger boat operators plying between here and the Thailand side had not stopped providing service to those crossing illegally despite facing more risks with the rising water level.

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