[Exclusive] High prices ramp up pork smuggling along Kelantan-Thai border

February 9, 2018 @ 10:20AM
By Nor Fazlina Abdul Rahim

RANTAU PANJANG: Lucrative pork prices, as high as RM100 per kg in Thailand, are one of the main reasons pork is being actively smuggled across the Kelantan border.

Most of the pigs are obtained from Pahang, Terengganu and Perak before being smuggled into Thailand using illegal bases around Kelantan.

Investigation by the New Straits Times Press around the nearby villages revealed that local folks are offering their assistance, allowing the smugglers to use their areas as transit points before the meat is sent into Thailand.

As soon as it arrives in Kelantan, the meat usually transported in four-wheel drives or lorries, are sent to a house in a nearby village. When the coast is clear, the meat is then transported across via boats.

Commander of Border Control Agency (Agensi Kawalan Sempadan Malaysia AKSEM), Mohd Asri Yahya, said the illegal activity has been rampant since last December.

He commented that the syndicate was discovered around Kampung Itik, where they were found to operate at night to avoid authorities.

“The illegal smuggling of pigs has been around for a long time, however, the activity has increased since last December. Recently, we managed to confiscate 61 pigs at Lalang Pepuyu believed to be from Pahang.

“We believe the mastermind of the syndicate is based outside of Kelantan and uses local folks around the border to assist in their activity.

“We have also received complaints from local villagers about their fears on the effect it has to their villages in regards to Islam, as it is in very close proximity,,” he added.

Asri assured the villagers that the authorities will increase its operations and monitoring, which will include working with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) to overcome this issue.

In the meantime, the director of Perhilitan Kelantan, Hasdi Hussain, admitted that the illegal smuggling is picking up pace.

Hence, Perhilitan will work with border control agency AKSEM and other relevant authorities to combat these activities.

‘Bones, blood of pigs contaminating Sungai Golok’

RANTAU PANJANG: The rampant smuggling of pork using the Sungai Golok route is raising concern among residents.

They claim that the illegal activity is contaminating the river, as the bones of the pigs are frequently thrown into it.

Previously, local residents would fish at Sungai Golok because there was ample supply, which allowed them to make a living.

However, since this illegal activity, they could not do so because the pig bones and pig blood have contaminated the water.

A villager in her 50s, who only wanted to be known as Esah, said this illegal activity had been going on for a long time and some people in the area were assisting the syndicate.

“We don’t care if they smuggle goats or cows, but because it involves pigs we can’t eat anything from Sungai Golok,” she said.

Syndicate members use Kampung Itik in Rantau Panjang to smuggle pork under cover of darkness into Thailand. PIC BY FATHIL ASRI