Human traffickers use Brunei borders

BRUNEI - Human traffickers are using Brunei as a transit point to sneak people across the border into Sarawak and the rest of Malaysia, according to bilateral intelligence reports cited by a Malaysian newspaper yesterday.

The New Straits Times (NST) stated that Brunei-Malaysia intelligence had said the Sultanate's four land checkpoints - Kuala Belait (Sg Tujoh), Kuala Lurah, Labu and Ujung Jalan - were being "capitalised" upon after entering Brunei by air.

"We have detected the intention of human traffickers in using Brunei as a transit point to gain entry into our country (Malaysia). Our counterparts in Brunei have also revealed to us that an internationally wanted human trafficker from Iran was detected and later arrested in Brunei recently," Malaysian Immigration Director-General Datuk Alias Ahmad was quoted by NST as saying.

When The Brunei Times contacted officials from the Sultanate's Immigration and National Registration Department for comment, we were directed to the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF), which was said to be the lead agency in handling human trafficking cases.

The force's spokesperson had not been informed of the matter when asked yesterday.

In the NST report, Alias called for both sides to boost cooperation against transnational crime syndicates, which continuously change their patterns to avoid detection. Brunei was described as the "least expected country" for human traffickers to use to enter Malaysia, after Thailand and Singapore.

"Human traffickers are always looking for loopholes in every country to facilitate their job. Both countries (Brunei and Malaysia) have vowed to step up bilateral cooperation to weed out transnational criminal activities," Alias was quoted as saying.

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