KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): A total of 425 Malaysian drug mules have been detained by the authorities in 19 countries since 2013 until October this year, said the police.
Bukit Aman Narcotics Criminal Investigation Department (NCID) principal assistant director SAC Zulkifli Ali said Singapore recorded the highest number of Malaysian drug mules, with 175 people were languishing in its prisons.
It was followed by Indonesia where 85 Malaysians have been arrested, Thailand (49), Australia (34) and 21 people in Japan.
“In Latin American countries such as Argentina and Brazil, there are two Malaysians in custody each while one was detained in Peru.
However, he said, the number of Malaysian drug mules arrested abroad had been declining since 2016 where a total of 101 locals had been incarcerated, before it dropped to 58 people in 2017 and as of October this year, 39 Malaysians had been arrested abroad.
The decline was attributed to continuous enforcement by the authorities especially the Malaysia Royal Police (PDRM) against the syndicates by carrying out special operations in efforts to combat this heinous crime, he said.
Zulkifli also said that in order to avoid detection, Nigerian-led syndicates had switched to social media to recruit their victims.
He added that the international syndicates, often masterminded by African nationals had been recruiting and hiring Malaysians, especially women by financing their flights to travel to certain countries.
The women would be given a RM2,000 pocket money and promised a reward of between RM5,000 and RM10,000 once they succeeded in their mission.
Zulkifli said based on the intelligence, Nigerian nationals were believed to be the main culprits in luring vulnerable Malaysian women and most of these syndicates were based in several countries, including Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and China.
The syndicates' members entered the country using student passes or business visas to establish relationships with local women and to win the hearts of these women to the extent of marrying them.
Zulkifli said Malaysians were also involved in smuggling drugs such as syabu abroad by using 'body packing' (drugs attached to body using adhesive tape, glue or straps) method and in November alone, four locals had been detained at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) for allegedly trying to smuggle out more than 4 kilograms of syabu to South Korea. -Bernama