Video Evidence of Smuggling, Corruption at Padang Besar-Thai Border

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IGP says police have identified border personnel who allowed smuggling to occur.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) today dropped a bombshell when for the first time it made public video evidence of corruption involving the nation’s enforcement taking place, some even in broad daylight.

The video evidence involved corrupt practices by the nation’s border enforcement officers at the country’s northern boundary which has been taking place since 2017, allowing for smuggling activities to flourish.

The commission revealed this in a video at a press conference.

Latheefa, however, declined to reveal from whom the MACC managed to obtain the security video recordings.

The footage shows some individuals carrying white-coloured sacks making a dash to the border walls, while their accomplices from the neighbouring country waited to receive the packages.

It is believed that the contents of the sacks are ketum leaves that can fetch a price of RM100 per kg if sold in Thailand compared to RM18 locally.

MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya said the anti-graft body now has clear cut evidence of smuggling activities and security breach at the Padang Besar border as well as that taking place at the Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine Complex (CIQ) in Perlis, bordering Thailand.

She said enforcement officers in the state had allowed culprits to smuggle out across the border goods such as ketum leaves, fertilisers and other subsidised items such as flour, cooking oil, onions, petrol and diesel.

“The MACC has had a breakthrough in finding evidence of corruption, smuggling and breach of security taking place at the Padang Besar- Thailand border.

“We have video evidence of corruption (taking place) from 2017 until May 2019. This has been going on for a long time,” she said.

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Latheefa said the commission made the video evidence revelation today as a warning to enforcement officers nationwide who were involved in corrupt activities.

Because of this breakthrough, we now know how simple and easy it is to breach our country’s border security because of corruption.

Perpetrators (in the video) seem oblivious and were quite comfortable (as if they have been doing it for a long time).

“The reason why we are exposing this is that they (the officers) will know that they are being watched,” she said.

The smuggling of ketum leaves and other goods may not seem to be a big deal, however, corruption and breach in border security could lead to other serious matters such as smuggling of drugs, extinct and exotic animals and human trafficking, such as that in Wang Kelian, Latheefa said.

She said the video evidence had been submitted to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador to identify the officers and take action against them.

“We have submitted thousands of videos showing smuggling activities to the police. They should take measures to improve their standard operating procedures (SOP) to curb corruption among border enforcement officers.

“We are also working with the National Security Council (NSC), Immigration Department and Customs Department,” she added.

Asked if the graft busters were looking at the nation’s other border areas, Latheefa said they were also looking at possible graft taking place at Bukit Kayu Hitam and Kelantan borders as well.

Head of the audio-video branch in the MACC forensics division, senior superintendent Badri Azni said the modus operandi of the smugglers was to meet the security personnel on duty along the border.

“Each time there is going to be smuggling activities, they will try to approach the security personnel and give something, believed to be money, as a bribe to allow them (to carry out the smuggling),” he said.

He said the smuggling activities were quite rampant during the change of shift of officers between 6am to 9am.

“We have also seen in the video that smuggling activities happen blatantly during the day.”

Malaysiakini

The smugglers’ camp, he said, would be located close to the guard post manned by the security forces so that they could monitor it.

“They (the smugglers) are not afraid of the law, and blatantly go through the inspection lanes, carrying the smuggled items,” he said.

“Perpetrators were also seen conveniently damaging border gates to carry and crossover with smuggled goods.

“Enforcement patrol vehicles which pass those areas also do not stop to check (the smuggling activities),” he added.

At the CIQ, Badri said, goods were smuggled out openly, and officers turned a blind eye on them.

“We also caught on video of officers watching (video) and playing with their handphones and also sleeping (not carrying out their tasks),” he said.

Meanwhile, Bukit Aman revealed that it has identified several of its personnel who were caught on video allowing smugglers to move contraband across the Thai-Malaysian border, said top cop Abdul Hamid Bador.

The inspector-general of police said that the police’s Integrity and Standard Compliance Department (ISCD) and Internal Security and Public Order Department (KDNKA) had launched an investigation into the video clips since they received it late last month.

According to Hamid, Bukit Aman is taking disciplinary action against the personnel.

“Yes (we have started investigation). ISCD and KDNKA Bukit Aman had already launched a probe since late last month.

“Several of the police personnel depicted (in the video) had also been identified, and disciplinary action is underway,” he said.

According to Hamid, the federal police have also introduced improvements to standard operating procedures (SOPs) for personnel on duty patrolling borders and manning entry points around the country.

The IGP added that with the latest standing orders on duty SOPs, he was confident that contraband smuggling activities could be reduced drastically.

He also noted that the police’s General Operations Force (PGA), which is stationed at the country’s borders, had also achieved significant success in foiling smuggling syndicates.

This included arresting smugglers, including those who tried to bribe personnel, and seizing scores of illegal items, including firearms, drugs, and exotic animals.

“Since the past four to five months, PGA officers at the borders had recorded many successes in crippling smuggling syndicates that were responsible for trafficking all sorts of contraband, illicit cigarettes, drugs, exotic animals, firearms, immigrants.

“They also arrested smugglers who tried to give them money (in exchange for allowing their activities).

“Their conscientiousness in carrying out their duties with full integrity has been showing more and more (semakin terserlah). (And) with the latest standing orders on their duty SOPs, I am confident that cases of leakages at our borders can be decreased drastically.”

Hamid said they are also working closely with the MACC and the National Security Council in addressing border security issues.