BUKIT KAYU HITAM – The Malaysian Border Security Agency (AKSEM) has foiled an attempt by a syndicate to smuggle ketum leaves to neighbouring countries by using states in the East Coast as a transit point following the seizure of 760 kg of kutum leaves worth RM40,000 in Sik yesterday.
Kedah AKEM commander Abdul Latif Abd Rahman said intelligence sources revealed the syndicate had changed its modus operandi as it was likely to have known that it was difficult to run smuggling activities via the country’s northern border.
“As such, the syndicate made the East Coast states as a transit location before smuggling them to neighbouring countries because here (north Peninsula) the route is quite difficult, if there (East Coast) the opportunities is vast due to other alternative routes such as rivers,” he told reporters at the AKSEM office here.
He said in the seizure at 10.15 pm, ASEM personnel found 750 kg of ketum leaves hidden under a shed and the rest in a Nissan Vanette vehicle.
All the ketum leaves were packed separately in a white plastic bag containing 100 pieces of ketum leaves each.
Abdul Latif said the prices could fetch up to RM100 per kg in neighbouring countries.
Apart from ‘operating’ at night, the ketum trees were also planted in rubber estates that were far from the houses of residents to avoid detention from the authorities, he said.
However, he said no arrests were made because the perpetrator could have known about the presence of the authorities and believed the illegal activities were done by a third party.
All the confiscated items were handed over to the Sik Narcotics Crime Investigation Department for further action. – BERNAMA