JOHOR BARU: Police have arrested 36 people in several states over its investigation into the meat cartel that makes fake halal labels and certificates.
Bukit Aman CID director Comm Datuk Huzir Mohamed said the suspects, mostly directors and managers of various companies, were arrested during Ops Kartel Daging that was carried out last Friday involving 19 companies in six states.
“The suspects, aged between 28 and 67, were arrested in Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Perak, Penang and Kedah.
“They have been raking in profits of between RM1mil and RM52mil a year from their criminal activities from 2018 to 2020, ” he told a press conference at the state police headquarters here yesterday.
Comm Huzir added that the suspects, consisting of 26 men and 10 women, got their supply from a food company in Ulu Tiram here, which imported frozen meat from Brazil.
“This company receives a lot of demand as it sells meat at a lower price compared to other companies, which are between 20 sen and RM1 per kilogramme.
“The company is also able to provide an easier payment scheme, namely credit for three months, apart from being able to meet customer demand because it always has sufficient stock, ” he said.
He added that investigations into the frozen food company revealed it had four permits to import 108 tonnes of meat into the country.
“However, the company has managed to distribute more than 1,000 tonnes of meat to 202 companies based on invoices seized, prompting suspicion from the police.
“From the 202 companies, we have taken action against 19 companies with the arrest of 36 people, ” he said, adding that more arrests were expected soon.
Comm Huzir said aside from importing meat from Brazil, the company also received its meat supply from local companies before repacking it and distributing it to its customers.
He added that police were also seeking two men identified as Tan Siew Huak, 42, from Ulu Tiram, and Wong Ah Kheong, 44, from Kuantan, to assist in its investigations.
Comm Huzir also noted that the case was being investigated under Section 120B of the Penal Code for criminal conspiracy, which carries a fine not more than RM100,000 or imprisonment not more than three years or both.
He stressed that the activity had created doubt in the public on the halal status of all meat in the market as it also did not have any verification from the Veterinary Services Department in terms of hygiene.
Last year, the authorities busted a cartel that had been smuggling meat from Ukraine, Brazil, Argentina and China, and repackaging it with fake halal logos.
A raid was carried out at a warehouse in Senai where 1,500 tonnes of frozen meat worth RM30mil were seized.
The cartel, believed to have been operating for a few years, had allegedly been using the warehouse as a location to make fake labels and stamps to be pasted on packages of meat that does not have halal certification.