ALOR SETAR (Bernama): The Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) detained two Thai nationals and seized 120kg of ketum leaves worth RM10,800 which were being smuggled out near the border at Durian Burung, Padang Terap on Monday (June10).
Sixth Brigade Commander Brigadier General Mohd Halim Khalid said that a MAF patrol came across the duo, riding separate motorcycles and a man in a car under suspicious circumstances in a jungle area.
"The patrol found the suspects transferring four white gunny sacks of ketum leaves from the car on to the Honda Wave motorcycles.
"They tried to flee when they realised the presence of the soldiers. Nevertheless, the soldiers managed to nab the duo, aged from 20 years to their 30s, but their accomplice, believed to be a local, escaped," he said in a statement here on Tuesday (June 11).
Mohd Halim said the soldiers found fresh ketum leaves which were neatly tied using opaque plastic in the sacks and destined to be smuggled out.
Mohd Halim said that smugglers were willing to face the high risk of smuggling out the banned ketum leaves to take advantage of the high demand and inflated price in Thailand to make a lucrative profit.
''Every kilogramme of ketum leaves is bought at RM90 and will be sold in Thailand at many times the original price resulting in the proliferation of the activity,'' he said.
He said the MAF would continue to tighten the control at the border to curb the smuggling of ketum leaves and other banned items which were expected to spike after Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
The suspects were then taken to the Padang Terap District Police Headquarters for further action. - Bernama