$720,000 syabu seized in Langkawi.

ALOR STAR - The state Customs Department has ramped up inspections at the Langkawi ferry terminal and the international airport on the tourist island following following two attempts to smuggle in syabu worth about RM1.8 million over the weekend.

State Customs director Datuk Abd Aziz Abdul Rahman said since early this year, the department had busted five similar cases in Langkawi.

He did not discount the possibility that international drug trafficking syndicates were now shifting to smaller international airports such as Langkawi because of stringent inspections at larger airports.

"As such, we will step-up security and inspections at the entry points to prevent Langkawi from being turned into a trafficking route for the international drug trade," he said at a press conference yesterday.

Aziz said in the first case on Saturday, Customs officers found a black document bag abandoned near the scanner machine at the Kuah ferry terminal.

"We found 4.295kg of syabu powder in a secret compartment in the bag. The drugs have a street value of about RM816,050," he said. In a second case the next day, Aziz said the department detained a 43-year-old South African man for carrying 5.3120kg of syabu worth RM1,008,900.

The drugs were also found concealed in a black document bag.

Aziz said the suspect flew out from Johannesburg and had transited in Singapore before arriving in Langkawi about 9pm.

"We are investigating whether the two cases are linked because the modus operandi in both cases were nearly identical," he said.

The South African has been remanded and both cases are being investigated under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.