Thailand Charges 2 Malaysians With Smuggling Crystal Meth

BenarNews Staff
160330-MY-TH-ice-arrest-620.jpg Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff, the director of the Malaysian police’s Narcotics Criminal Investigation Department, speaks during a press conference in Bangkok, at which the arrests of two Malaysians (seated) on drug smuggling charges were announced, March 30, 2016.

Thai police Wednesday announced the arrests of two Malaysians who were allegedly caught with more than one-quarter ton of crystal methamphetamine at a southern border crossing.

Following a tip-off from authorities in neighboring Malaysia, Chang Kim Sui, 49, and Lim Yean Hooi, 37, were arrested Tuesday at the Sadao checkpoint in Songkhla province, while trying to enter Malaysia, officials said.

The two were driving separate cars and were carrying a total of 282 kilos (621 pounds) of methamphetamine, also known as Ice, in the trunks, police told reporters in Bangkok.

The arrests and haul was the second major drug bust involving Malaysian suspects on the Thai-Malaysia border in less than a week.

Chang and Lim were charged with possession of narcotics for sale, and could face the death penalty if convicted, police said, adding that both men admitted their guilt.

“This is the biggest bust we have made in several years,” Thailand Police Chief Chakthip Chaichindda told reporters at a news conference in Bangkok, where the suspects were presented and the confiscated Ice was displayed. Police also presented a Thai suspect arrested separately with three kilos of the drug.

Police Lt. Gen. Rewat Klinkesorn, the chief of Thailand’s anti-drugs bureau, said Malaysian narcotics police tipped off his officers about the suspected traffickers.

He said both suspects rented a house in Sadao district for months, and police surveyed them before finally catching them.

“They both are drivers and had they successfully entered Malaysia, there would be new drivers taking over driving the cars,” he said.

Rewat declined to identify where the drug was manufactured, but said Ice could travel from Myanmar to Laos, en route to Vietnam. Because of crackdowns, traffickers chose northern and northeastern Thailand as a new transit route. Much of the drugs are destined for the United States, Europe and Australia.

‘War can be won only with mutual cooperation’

On March 24, Thai police announced the arrests of 15 Malaysians suspected of trying to smuggle 226 kilos (498 pounds) of crystal methamphetamine and eight kilos (17.6 pounds) of heroin aboard a train heading to Padang Besar, a southern Thai town on the Malaysian border.

At that time, police said a one-kilo packet of Ice fetched 300,000 to 500,000 baht (U.S. $8,494 to $14,154) in Bangkok, meaning the 262 kilos seized on Tuesday could have a street value of as much as 141 million baht (nearly U.S. $4 million).

Deputy Police Chief General Pongsapat Pongcharoen who was present at Wednesday’s briefing said the traffickers arrested Tuesday appear to have no links with the group arrested last week, but police are trying to determine if the Ice was made in the same facility.

“We tried to check out connections of different lots. We will have lab tests of this lot and the other lot seized by railway police to see if they share common ingredients,” he said.

Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff, chief of Malaysia’s Narcotics Criminal Investigation Department, joined Thai officials at the press conference.

In 2015, Malaysia confiscated drugs valued at 280 million ringgit (U.S. $71.3 million), he told reporters. From January through March this year, officers confiscated drugs valued at 60 million ringgit (U.S. $15.2 million).


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