TAK BAI (South Thailand), July 10, 2015:
Despite all the efforts taken by the authorities, smuggling of fireworks from Thailand into Malaysia is still going on.
People take fireworks lightly despite the many news reports on fireworks-related mishaps involving children and adults.
Due to the high profits obtained from sale of fireworks, smugglers are willing to take the risk of being charged for the offence.
Observations by The Rakyat Post at the Kelantan-Thailand border shows certain people still smuggle fireworks into Malaysia on boats.
The smugglers are usually retailers who bring in small quantities to be sold on the black market. They can earn up to RM10,000 every festive season.
A 45-year-old smuggler named Hassan said he earned a living selling fireworks due to the high demand during this Raya festive season.
He said even in Thailand, sale of fireworks was illegal but people continued with these activities covertly.
“Previously, in Thailand, sale of fireworks was allowed in public. But two to three years ago, Thai police and soldiers banned their sale. Those found selling it would have all their stocks confiscated.
“However, many Malaysian customers place orders for fireworks to be delivered illegally,” said Hassan.
He said he had studied how the security forces operated at the border and he brought in the fireworks when the coast was clear.
He said it was not difficult to bring in the fireworks as he knew all the “holes” in the border, especially along Sungai Golok.
“Payment for such work depends on how many items are brought in and how many times we have to travel in and out of the country.
“Usually, we can get RM200 a day to bring in the fireworks. This payment is considered low when compared to what is earned by our ‘taukeh’ (boss), the one who provides the capital for the business.”
The festive season is considered a windfall for fireworks retailers in Kelantan.
The authorities said the fireworks originated from China and were brought in through several Vietnam and Cambodia. They are kept in storage in neighboring countries for a few months before Ramadan to meet the high demand.
Among the most famous fireworks are mercun bola, Crazy Robot, mercun bateri and also the KLCC fireworks that explode and produce colourful lights in the sky.