The lucrative income of bringing in illegal immigrants has prompted the smugglers and syndicate members along Kelantan/Thai border to set up `transit points’ along Sungai Golok as temporarily shelters for the immigrants. NSTP/FATHIL ASRI

RANTAU PANJANG: The lucrative income of bringing in illegal immigrants has prompted the smugglers and syndicate members along Kelantan/Thai border to set up `transit points’ along Sungai Golok as temporarily shelters for the immigrants.

These transit points, mostly located near the many illegal jetties along 108 km of Sungai Golok, are temporary shelters for the illegal immigrants before they are sent to their destinations.

Survey by NSTP at several illegal jetties showed that apart from empty and abandoned houses being turned to transit points, smugglers also set up tents as it would make it easy for them to move from one place to another.

There are 135 active illegal jetties along the border and it is believed that there are about transit points set up by the smugglers, mostly in Rantau Panjang, while the others were in Pengkalan Kubur and Bukit Bunga.

Smuggers choose villages and isolated areas with thick bushes to set up their tents.

the survey also showed that the transit points were located close to village houses to avoid being detected by the authority.

According to sources, the transit points used by the smugglers were either abandoned homes or rented from local villagers, and the villagers worked with the syndicates.

“The villagers also help to transport the immigrants to their destinations or to bus and taxi stations,” said the sources.

The sources said the border enforcement authority were facing difficulties to track down the syndicates because their modus operandi kept changing, including the location for the tents and the rented houses.

“They also use the service of tontos to prevent being caught by the enforcement authority.”