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Sadao, Sungai Golok, preferred drug-smuggling routes into Malaysia

Sadao, Sungai Golok, preferred drug-smuggling routes into Malaysia
Sadao and Sungai Golok are the two most popular drug smuggling routes by internationally-linked syndicates to bring various types of drugs into Malaysia, according to a high ranking drug enforcement source in Thailand. -Wikipedia
BANGKOK: Sadao and Sungai Golok are the two most popular drug smuggling routes by internationally-linked syndicates to bring various types of drugs into Malaysia, according to a high ranking drug enforcement source in Thailand.

According to him, intelligence information showed drug syndicates utilised the Sadao and Sungai Golok routes to smuggle certain types of drugs into Malaysia.

"Usually Sadao which borders Bukit Kayu Hitam in Kedah would be the preferred route for syndicates known to deal with synthetic drugs like 'Ice' and 'Crystal' Methaphetamine as well as heroin, cannabis and Yaba (Crazy pill)," he told Bernama recently.

Whereas, Sungai Golok which separates Narathiwat province in Thailand and the state of Kelantan in Malaysia has been identified as the "favoured" route for drug syndicates specialising in smuggling "Yaba" in Thailand or "Pil Kuda" as it is known in Malaysia.

The source said the 95-km long Sungai Golok (Golok River) which also serves as a natural boundary between Malaysia and Thailand was the preferred route for "Yaba" syndicates because of the popularity of the drugs among users in certain Malaysian states.

The geographical location of Sungai Golok viz-a-viz Kelantan and east coast Malaysian states has made it the favoured route for syndicates specialising in the smuggling of "pil kuda," a low-quality and inexpensive Methaphetamine-type drug.
"Yaba (pil kuda) is very popular among users in Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang. That explains why Yaba syndicates use Sungai Golok as their preferred route, as it is nearer to reach the end user," he said.

The source also disclosed that most of the syndicates smuggling "Yaba" into Malaysia via Sungai Golok are linked to a famous southern Thai drug baron who has been on the run from Thai law for more than 10 years.

Thai authorities believe the wanted drug baron with multiple arrest warrants on him is currently in hiding in Laos and is also linked to Xaysana Keopimpha, a Laotian drug kingpin who was arrested by Thai authorities early this year and formally charged in a Thai court last month.

Despite being on the run for years, his drug smuggling activities including inside Malaysia are very much alive as it is run by his trusted lieutenants.

Malaysian police managed to nab one of the trusted henchman of the southern Thai drug baron several months ago, known only as "Kamaruddin", who holds dual Malaysia and Thai citizenship.

Thai Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB) and Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) of Thailand have made known their desire to question the man and have forwarded an application to their Malaysian counterparts in an effort to meet and interview "Kamaruddin."

The source who wanted to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the information he shared also disclosed that, Sadao was also a favoured smuggling route as it is nearer to Malaysia's port facilities as most of the Methaphetamine-type drugs smuggled into the country would be re-exported to other countries.

"Australia, Taiwan, Europe and North America are among the final destinations of the drugs," he said adding that, Thai and Malaysian drug enforcement authorities are working together to cripple transnational drug syndicates.

The "Ice" and "Crystal" drugs that were brought into Malaysia normally were of high export-quality, he said, adding that most, if not all of the the high quality synthetic drugs smuggled into the country were produced in Wa State, a loosely governed autonomous region in Mynmar.

Another thing the high ranking source in Thai drug enforcement agency disclosed was that many of the drug syndicates which operate the Sadao route had links with syndicates in Penang or originate from the same syndicate.

Not only the Sadao-syndicates have links with Penang, but they also have connections with Johor-based syndicates, he said, adding that they have yet to establish the reason for the links between the Penang and Johor-based syndicates.

He cited "Mr T" or "Malaysia Iceman", a Johor-born key personality in an international drug syndicate who was apprehended by the Thai authorities at Hatyai Airport several months ago following months of close surveillance, as one of the examples of a key member of a Sadao-based syndicate with overseas links.

Fluent Thai speaker "Mr T", a long term resident of Danok and Hatyai who has close links with syndicates in Penang, has been accused of masterminding the smuggling of large amounts of Methaphetamine-type drugs into Malaysia.

Asked on the number of Sadao-based drug syndicates with Malaysian links currently under the watch list of Thai authorities, the source declined to elaborate but insisted that they are monitoring their movements.

"Not only their movements are under constant watch from the Thai authorities, their business activities are also monitored to ensure southern Thailand, for example key commercial towns like Hatyai and Danok, do not turn into a money-laundering haven for criminals.

"We are still compiling evidence (on their money laundering activities)," said the source.

-- BERNAMA