MMEA foils bid to smuggle 360kg of ketum leaves

KUALA PERLIS: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has foiled an attempt to smuggle 360kg of ketum leaves in Kuala Perlis waters en route to a neighbouring country.

Kuala Perlis MMEA director Maritime Commander Mohd Shafie Paing said a patrol boat was checking the area under Ops Benteng when it spotted a boat heading towards the border of a neighbouring country from Kuala Perlis estuary at about 3.15pm on Saturday.

“Upon realising our presence, the vessel tried to flee but we successfully intercepted it. A skipper and a crew jumped into the sea, swam ashore and managed to escape, ” he said in a statement.

Shafie said MMEA officers seized 36 packages weighing 360kg of ketum leaves on board the vessel as well as the fibreglass boat with an outboard engine, worth a total of RM28,700.

“The seized items and boat were taken to Kuala Perlis Maritime Zone and the case is being investigated under Section 30 (3) of the Poisons Act for abuse of ketum leaves.

“MMEA will continue to patrol and monitor the country’s borders and waters from time to time to prevent smuggling, encroachment, and criminal activities in the northern region waters of Peninsular Malaysia, ” he added. — Bernama

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