PADANG BESAR - Human trafficking activities have been rampant for some time now along the porous Malaysian-Thailand border, and with some enforcement officers also believed to be involved.
Bukit Kayu Hitam's Umno assemblyman Datuk Ahmad Zaini Japar said that based on the information he received, there is a network between the Thais and Malaysians.
"There's a tekong (leader) in Malaysia, and the carrier is also a local. The Thai human traffickers would inform his Malaysian partners about the number of people they are sending over and agree on a location.
"The victims would have to pay a huge sum of money to the syndicate before they are released into Malaysia," he claimed yesterday.
Ahmad Zaini, who is also Kubang Pasu Umno division deputy chief, said the human trafficking victims, mostly Rohingyas and Bangladeshis, would have certain marks on them or a cloth to indicate which employers they would work for in Malaysia.
Asked how the syndicate operated all this while, he slammed the authorities for not doing enough to protect the border.
"There are a lot of lubang (holes) along the border which makes it easy for human traffickers.
"Security is loose as the border is long and we don't have enough manpower to man it," he said. "There are also doubts over the integrity and credibility of some enforcement officers along the border."
However, he brushed off claims of "slave camps" on the Malaysian side at the border.
"I don't know about other border towns but I don't think there is any in Bukit Kayu Hitam," he said. Bukit Kayu Hitam shares the border with Padang Besar, near where many graves containing bodies of human trafficking victims were found.
The southern Thailand border with Malaysia runs along the states of Perlis, Kedah, Perak and Kelantan.
However, Abdul Kalam, 58, a Rohingya in Thailand who claimed that there were many camps on the Malaysian side showed pictures of what he said were the camps.
"I'm 100 per cent, 200 per cent sure that the photos are of the camps on the Malaysian side," he said.
From the photos which were taken a few days ago, it can be seen that in the camps had several longhouse-like structures made of trees and bamboo poles. The roofs are covered with canvas and the conditions are terrible, like cattle pens.