KUALA NERANG, Nov 17 -- Police arrested four men, including a Thai national, and seized 13 sacks containing ketum leaves weighing 379 kg at a rubber plantation in Durian Burung, near here, yesterday.
Padang Terap district police chief DSP Mulkiaman Manzar said all the suspects, aged between 22 and 27, were arrested by a team of Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) personnel from Kem Sahara, Durian Burung at 3 pm.
"Members of MAF who were conducting Op Benteng came across four suspects who were standing in front of the pile of sacks. As they were approaching, all the suspects tried to escape but were arrested by MAF personnel.
"An inspection of the sack found transparent plastic bags containing ketum leaves in which each sack is estimated to weigh 30 kg," he told a press conference here, today.
Mulkiaman said investigation found that all the suspects were hired by an individual known as 'Pak Lang' to bring the ketum leaves from the Malaysian border to Thailand through a rat route for RM50 per sack.
"The 27-year-old Thai man is believed to act as both a guide and middleman to bring the ketum leaves into his country. They have been carrying out this smuggling activity for almost six months at the request of middlemen.
"We believe they move the ketum leaves at night using motorcycles. Their location is also constantly changing to evade detection by the authorities and they are able to smuggle 15 sacks of ketum leaves into Thailand in a week," he said.
He said four motorcycles were also seized suspected of being used to carry out the smuggling activities.
He said all the suspects were remanded for four days starting today and were investigated under Section 30 (3) of the Poisons Act 1952.
Malaysian National News Agency
No.28 Jalan BERNAMA
Off Jalan Tun Razak
50400 Kuala Lumpur
Tel : +603-2693 9933 (General Line)
Email : helpdesk[at]bernama.com