KUALA LUMPUR – Security forces guarding the country’s borders under Op Benteng have seized 2,250 kilogrammes of ketum leaves worth more than RM96,000 believed to be smuggled at the Malaysian-Thai border.
Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) in a statement Oct 22 said the Perlis Malaysian Border Security Agency (AKSEM) found nine white sacks containing ketum leaves weighing 270 kg worth RM8,100 kept in a house in Mata Ayer, Perlis last Sunday.
On Tuesday, an Army team based in Durian Burung, Kedah foiled an attempt to smuggle 16 sacks with 480 kg of ketum leaves worth RM18,400 into Thailand using motorcycles.
On Oct 21, the Army team arrested two local skippers (tekong) with 1,500 kg of ketum leaves worth RM69,657 at the Sungai Badak Reserve Forest near Bukit Kayu Hitam.
“The modus operandi of the tekong is to place the ketum leaves at an agreed location using two vehicles before being taken by the tekong from Thailand,” according to the statement.
The statement said the success was the result of the cooperation of MAF, police, Customs Department, Immigration Department, AKSEM and People’s Volunteer Corps (RELA).
Meanwhile, the Sandakan zone Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) held six foreigners attempting to smuggle in 3.98 million sticks of cigarettes valued at almost RM5 million during an Op Benteng patrol in the waters of Pulau Tetaban.
Sandakan Maritime Zone director, Maritime Captain Zainudin Mohd Zuki said all of them were apprehended in a local fishing boat with 398 boxes filled with 19,900 cartons of cigarettes worth RM1.99 million while the unpaid duty was estimated at RM2.825 million.
“COVID-19 screening was conducted on all the detainees including the skipper believed to be a Filipino aged between 20 and 54 and one of them was found positive for the virus,” he said in a statement today.
He said the COVID-19 positive individual was admitted to the hospital for treatment while the five others were quarantined in a lockup.