GEORGE TOWN: A man believed to be a drug producer tried to commit suicide by gulping chemicals when police raided his drug lab at a shoplot in Jalan Thean Tek, Air Itam, here.
Sources said the man, in his 30s, was caught along with two others at the premises during the 2am raid yesterday.
It is learnt the man, who was being detained at the premises while police searched the place later in the day, grabbed a bottle containing chemicals and started to drink from it before the officers managed to stop him.
Police personnel then forced him to drink plenty of water before sending him to Penang Hospital at about 3.30pm.
The other two suspects were taken to the police station at 5.50pm for questioning.
A police forensics team was called in to collect evidence while personnel were seen taking away electrical appliances like an oven, toaster and rice cooker as well as packed paper bags and bottles of liquid believed to be raw material for producing drugs.
It is learnt that the three were caught red-handed when police moved in unnoticed despite two CCTV cameras near the entrance of the staircase.
Police were still collecting evidence and searching the premises at press time, while the items and amount of drugs have yet to be made known.
A neighbouring shop owner said the people in the shoplot were "very secretive" and he did not know what business they were running, adding that one of them drove a luxury car.
A team from the Fire and Rescue Department was brought in to crack open a steel vault believed to contain processed drugs.