GOF uncovers new tactic to smuggle ketum leaves

by BERNAMA

PADANG BESAR – The General Operations Force (GOF) has uncovered a new tactic of using shipping containers to smuggle ketum leaves to a neighbouring country following a raid here yesterday.

Pangkalan Hulu GOF 18th Battalion commanding officer Supt Ramli Wan Salin said its team had been monitoring the situation for a week and found that the suspects would bring the ketum leaves supplies to be filled into the containers before being shipped abroad.

“At about 3 pm yesterday, the GOF has raided the site of a cargo company and found almost 700 kg of ketum leaves estimated to be worth RM21,000 hidden in two containers,” he said in a news conference here.

He said a 41-year-old suspect believed to be the container manager was arrested for further investigation, adding that the GOF also seized two containers and a motorcycle worth RM50,000.

The case is being investigated under Section 30(3) of the Poisons Act 1952 and will be handed over to the Padang Besar District Police Headquarters for further action.

Meanwhile, in Kelantan, the GOF seized 6,345 kg of smuggled Siamese rice and arrested nine individuals in a special operation at the Pasar Besar Wakaf Bharu here yesterday.

GOF 7th Battalion commanding officer Supt Azhari Nusi said the special operation was launched to foil rice smuggling activities at the Malaysia-Thailand border which was found to be using the service of ‘runners’ to deliver the supplies to certain locations including the market.

He said the runners were charging between RM20 and RM30 per trip to transport the rice in small quantities using various types of vehicles to avoid detection by the authorities.

“The special operation was launched after a week of intelligence and monitoring. A total of four senior officers and 25 personnel were involved in the raid from 6.30 am to 8 am,” he said in a statement today.

Azhari said the individuals arrested were four men and five women, aged between 43 and 69, who were traders around the market.

“All case materials will be handed over to the investigating officer at the National Padi and Rice Regulatory Agency in Kota Bharu for further investigation under Section 20 of the Control of Padi and Rice Act 1994,” he said.