Malaysian customs officers nabbed in drug bust

KUALA LUMPUR - It was an outrageous Custom-made plan. Smugglers working with international syndicates would bring drugs from Nigeria and India into the country - and leave the luggage at the KL International Airport without having to go through inspection.

Malaysian Customs officers would then take the "abandoned" luggage and deliver the drugs to syndicate members who would have by then checked into hotels near the airport.

Four senior Customs Dep­artment officers have now been nabbed for betraying their duty and working with two international syndicates.

The Customs officers, who were highly paid, are believed to be hired by syndicate members from Nigeria and India to smuggle drugs into the country.

The drugs would be fitted into secret compartments inside the luggage or even inside electrical appliances such as DVD players.

It is learnt that more Customs personnel might be involved and police are tracking them down.

Deputy Inspector-General of Pol­ice Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin said the four officers were arrested together with seven others and drugs worth more than RM14mil were seized.

Bakri said Bukit Aman Narcotics Department's newly for­med Special Tactical Intelligence Narcotics (STIN) unit, with the assistance of the Customs Department, conducted several raids at hotels, business premises and houses in the Klang Valley and Negri Sembilan from Saturday to Monday after a tip-off.

Besides the officers, four Nig­erians, an Indian national and two other Malaysian syndicate members were arrested.

He said police seized 68.61kg of syabu, 9.7kg of heroin and other drugs worth more than RM14mil along with a CZ pistol and 30 bullets. Two cars and RM34,950 cash were also seized.

"The syndicates were active in many areas, including Taman Desa off Old Klang Road, Brickfields, Nilai and Seremban," he said at a press conference in Bukit Aman here yesterday.

Mohd Bakri said the drug busts were the first mission for some 200 members of the STIN unit, formed specifically to go after high profile syndicates and targets.

"It is shocking that officers from an enforcement agency are involved but we will carry out our duties without fear or favour.

"We expect to make more arrests soon.

"Initial investigations revealed that the officers were paid handsomely for their 'services'. Those arrested have been remanded for seven days," he said.