Border guards of Hà Tiên Border Gate at an illegal immigration checking point set up along the coast. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hải
KIÊN GIANG — Soldiers of Hà Tiên Border Gate in southern Kiên Giang Province have been working hard to stop illegal immigration, helping protect the country from the risk of COVID-19.
Sharing a more than 14km border with Cambodia, the Hà Tiên Border Gate is a hot spot for illegal border crossing and smuggling.
Lieutenant Colonel Nguyễn Văn Tùng, deputy head of the border station, said since late January the unit had set up 41 checking points and four mobile teams in charge of preventing illegal immigration and smuggling.
Soldiers have faced challenges while on duty due to the unpredictable development of the pandemic. Illegal immigrants and smugglers have used tricks to cross the border and transport goods to Việt Nam and even used violence against officers on duty, he said.
On the border with Cambodia and 26km of coast managed by the unit, the terrain is quite complex with many trails, posing challenges for soldiers, especially in bad weather conditions such as heavy rain and prolonged thunderstorms, Tùng told the Vietnam News Agency.
Lieutenant Nguyễn Văn Út, leader of the Anti-Drugs and Crime Team at Hà Tiên International Border Gate, said patrolling forests and sea areas in the rainy season were the most challenging aspects of the job.
“We are lucky to receive assistance such as food, medical equipment and other necessities from local authorities. The presents are the motivation for us to overcome difficulties and fight the criminals,” he said.
With the spirit of fighting the pandemic like fighting the enemy, the border guards regard COVID-19 prevention and control as a task of utmost importance.
To prevent illegal immigrants from crossing the border at night, the soldiers have set up a checkpoint on the sea.
Nguyễn Anh Tú, head of the checkpoint No 314, said the soldiers are on duty around the clock to prevent illegal immigration at sea. They take turns to be on guard and patrol hot spots.
At the same time, the guards are responsible for measuring body temperatures, helping people fill in medical declarations and putting more than 750 Vietnamese returnees from abroad in quarantine since the pandemic broke out in Việt Nam.
More than 40 illegal immigrants have been arrested at the border thanks to the efforts of the guards.
Since the beginning of this year, border guards have also arrested nearly 40 people in more than 50 smuggling cases, seizing more than 50,000 cigarette packs and many other goods such as seafood, pork, masks and sugar. — VNS