Year of drugs, LTTE, smuggling

On the job: Abdul Hamid has exposed police involvement with drugs which led to an operation to restore the image of the police force this year. — Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the continuing drug problems and smuggling at the country’s borders were among the crime issues in focus this year.

Apart from that, also receiving attention in 2019 was the appointment of Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador as the Inspector-General of Police on May 4.

Abdul Hamid on Aug 21 exposed the involvement of police personnel and officers with drugs which led to the implementation of the Blue Devil Operation, which saw the commitment of the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) to restore its image.

Based on police statistics, as at Nov 14,211 police personnel were held after being found positive for drugs via screening operations conducted nationwide.

On Sept 10, police also smashed an international drug smuggling syndicate when they seized 12 tonnes of cocaine worth RM2.4 billion in three containers at North Butterworth Container Terminal, Penang, which was the largest seizure in the country.

From January to November, police also succeeded in uncovering 19 drug-processing laboratories throughout the country with most of them located in rural areas.

Police also launched Op Damn Tokan in September and statistics showed that 456 individuals were detained as small-time drug pushers in the country.

In this regard, a programme named Nurture for Betterment was also introduced by police to assist restricted drug offenders under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985.

The issue of terrorism also received focus this year when 12 people including Gadek assemblyman, G. Saminathan, 34, and Seremban Jaya assemblyman P. Gunasekaran, were detained for having suspected links with LTTE.

On Oct 10 and 13, police via Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division arrested 12 individuals suspected of being involved in promoting, supporting, possessing materials and channelling funds involving LTTE.

Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism principal assistant director Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pichay said the two assemblymen were apprehended after being suspected of attending an LTTE Warriors’ Day anniversary in Melaka in November last year.

Those detained were from Selangor, Perak, Penang, Kedah, Negri Sembilan, Melaka and Kuala Lumpur under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).

They were charged in separate Sessions Courts here and in several states on Oct 29 and 31 after being accused of having links with LTTE and re-mention of the cases set in December.

Cross-border crimes involving smuggling cases also sent shock waves in the country when the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) revealed videos of smuggling activities at the border on Oct 18.

MACC claimed it has thousands of video clips on corruption at the border since 2017 which received various reactions from several parties.

Simultaneously, 14 officers and personnel of the General Operations Force (GOF) who were identified as those involved in corrupt practices on cross-border smuggling in Padang Besar, Perlis, had actions taken against them.

Police statistics on smuggling also showed that the matter should not be taken lightly when it was reported that between 200kg to 300kg of goods were smuggled daily, including ketum leaves and cigarettes seized by Perlis police since Sept 3.

According to the Padang Besar police headquarters, seizure of ketum leaves rose 51.1% at 81,851.54kg between January and October this year compared to 40,037.3kg last year.

Meanwhile, 1,968,654 litres of liquor of various brands and 10.32 million sticks of cigarettes worth RM12.41mil which were smuggled into the country with duty unpaid, were disposed of by the Malaysian Customers Department on Nov 8.

Its director-general Datuk Seri Paddy Abd Halim said both items were seized from two operations at Port Klang in Selangor on Apr 7 and Nov 7, involving unpaid duties amounting to RM61.87mil.

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