KUALA LUMPUR - They come here under the guise of foreign students pursuing an education at our local universities or colleges. But their real purpose is more sinister - to traffic and sell drugs in Malaysia.
Police believe that international drug syndicates are now resorting to using these foreign "students", especially those from Nigeria, to carry out their illegal activity.
Bukit Aman Narcotics Criminal Investigation Department (NCID) director Comm Datuk Seri Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff said the modus operandi of the drug syndicates was to give the students access to Malaysia by obtaining student visas and enrolling them in universities and colleges.
"However, the students seldom or never attend classes as they are busy handling their illegal business," he said.
A source said the drugs were sourced from China and other Asian countries.
Comm Mohd Mokhtar said his department, through its units, particularly the Special Tactical Intelligence Narcotics Group, found that almost 40 per cent of foreign students arrested for multiple drug offences were Nigerians.
Out of 80 foreign students nabbed for drugs this year, 30 were Nigerians.
Many were caught trying to transport the drugs in the Klang Valley, while others were detained during raids where they were found guarding the stash of drugs at the rented apartments where they operated, he said.
"We are working closely with the respective universities and colleges to detain syndicate members posing as students.
"The colleges have been told to keep a lookout for those who sign up for courses and don't turn up. Once the universities or colleges detect this trend, the police will be alerted," he said.
Comm Mohd Mokhtar said other foreigners found abusing their student visas to carry out the drug trade were from Somalia, Iran and Iraq.
He added that they were among 6,293 foreigners detained between January and November this year.
He said his department seized RM227.29mil (S$75.7 million) worth of drugs this year with syabu, ganja, heroin and erimin 5 among the most common.
"We also seized RM68.63mil worth of assets belonging to drug syndicates," he added.
In total, 164,450 people were arrested for drug offences. Among them were 16,777 people arrested for trafficking and 37,111 for possession.
Comm Mohd Mokhtar vowed that the war on drugs would be intensified.
"Drug syndicates are destroying the lives of others. We will be relentless in our mission to bring down those involved," he said.