Nothing is sacred to drug smuggling syndicates
SEREMBAN: Syndicates are getting more creative in smuggling drugs into the country. In a recent operation, the smugglers were found to have hidden 150kg of ketamine between boxes of vibhuthi, sacred ash used by Hindus during worship.
Over the years, these smugglers have tried numerous other tactics, including stashing the drugs in water heaters, television sets, cooking utensils, while some even resorted to soaking their clothes in liquid drugs to avoid detection.
Customs deputy enforcement director Datuk Mohamed Khalid Yusuf said the smugglers were getting desperate and were willing to resort to any method to bring in the drugs.
"These syndicates have no regard for human welfare, religion or anything. For them, it's all about money. Most of the time, they copy tactics used by smugglers in other countries. For example, soaking clothes in drugs was used by the Mexicans in the 1970s to smuggle drugs into the United States.
"Though they were able to retrieve only about 60 per cent later, it was still profitable for them."
He said officers at Kuala Lumpur International Airport had also detected smugglers who hid the drugs in shirt collars and sleeves, as well as in the seams.
Last year, the department seized RM62.4 million (S$25.74 million) worth of drugs, an increase of 254.5 per cent from RM17.6 million (S$7.26 million) in 2008.
Khalid said despite the department's high success rate last year, the jump in the number of cases from 31 in 2008 to 76 last year was cause for concern.
"In January alone we had two cases with RM7.7 million (S$3.176 million) worth of drugs seized. Multiply that by 12 months, and it could reach RM100 million (S$41.25 million) by the end of the year.
"Though we have a high success rate in seizing drugs, it is possibile that a lot more may slip through."
He said the department had intensified its efforts to curb smuggling, which include increasing enforcement and surveillance.
"We also have strong links with the police and our international counterparts and hope that by pooling our resources, we will be able to curb this menace."
Tue, Feb 16, 2010
New Straits Times