Penang cops bust illegal medicine syndicate

GEORGE TOWN: A syndicate that processed illegal medicine has been crippled, with police arresting four people and seizing products worth RM14mil in the state.

State police chief Comm Datuk Sahabudin Abd Manan said the syndicate, which had been active since early this year, was busted during a special operation jointly conducted by Bukit Aman and the state Narcotics Criminal Investigation Department) in collaboration with the state Health Department and Chemistry Department.

Comm Sahabudin said the suspects, including the syndicate’s mastermind, were detained during raids on a factory in Bukit Mertajam and a shop in Butterworth.

The police had initially received information that drugs were being processed at the factory. But during a raid there at 10am on Dec 24, police found illegal pills and traditional medicine.

“Two men and a woman, aged between 44 and 50, were picked up at the factory in Machang Indah Industrial Park, ” Comm Sahabudin told a press conference at the state police headquarters here yesterday.

He said 22 items worth RM2mil were seized from the factory and the suspects were detained under the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations 1984.

“The 50-year-old male, believed to be the mastermind, was renting the factory. He has a record for three criminal and drug-related offences, ” he said.

The other two suspects were a married couple aged 48 and 44, believed to be working with the mastermind at the factory.

In the second raid about half an hour later that day, police detained another 50-year-old man, believed to be a relative of the mastermind, at a shop in Taman Kenchana, Butterworth, after discovering 156,777 bottles of illegal medicine of various brands worth RM12mil.

“Unregistered medicine was also found to be processed there, ” he said, adding that the suspects were all released after their statements were taken.

Offences under Regulation 30(1) of the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations are punishable under Section 12 (1) of the Sale of Drugs Act 1952.

Comm Sahabudin said during the operation, police and state Health Department officers confiscated, among others, a container of bromhexine, a bottle of white powder believed to be dexamethasone, a bottle of capsules and three machines.Police also seized 148,617 bottles of Ginseng Kianpi pills, 3,360 bottles of Ying Yang Wan pills and 4,800 bottles of Lin-2i Gejie pills.

State Health Department pharmacy enforcement unit chief Arnie Fadzilah said the illegal medicines were believed to be for sale in the country and for export to Vietnam.

Arnie said initial investigation on the confiscated products found that they contained steroids that could stimulate weight gain.

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