KL cops start off 2018 with ketum syndicate bust (Updated)

Kuala Lumpur police chief, Datuk Mazlan Lazim (C), shows the seized items during a press conference at the KL police headquarters today, Jan 3, 2018. — Sunpix by Zulfadhli Zaki
The seized ketum leaves are displayed during a press conference at the KL police headquarters today, Jan 3, 2018. — Sunpix by Zulfadhli Zaki

KUALA LUMPUR: City police have busted a three-month-old ketum lab that was operating in a house in Wangsa Maju on New Year's Day.

City police chief Commissioner Datuk Mazlan Lazim said the syndicate codenamed "Ayah Nun" was a ketum juice wholesaler that was involved in processing ketum leaves and drinks.

"Police raided the house at about 3.45pm and recovered both ketum leaves and drinks.

"During the raid, we arrested four suspects aged between 20 and 60. Among those arrested were the mastermind of the lab. A total of 116kg of unprocessed ketum leaves and 217 packets of ketum juice worth RM6,376 were seized in the house," he told reporters at the KL police headquarters today.

Preliminary investigations revealed the syndicate was in the midst of producing ketum juice meant for local consumption.

Mazlan said the syndicate obtained the fresh leaves from a source in Kedah which were transported via express buses.

He advised bus operators not to turn into drug mules and get involved with ketum trafficking activities.

Mazlan added the mastermind, a 56-year-old man from Kedah, had six criminal records.

"He was assisted by three cooks and the syndicate had been supplying the drinks to smaller traders in the city and raked in almost RM20,000 a month.

"Each trip from the North would yield more than 200 packets of the drinks, which are then sold for RM10 each to buyers."

The case is being investigated under Section 30(3) of the Poison Act 1952.

Meanwhile, investigations into the RM1.5 million jewellery heist at a crowded mall in Cheras on New Year's Eve revealed that the robbers escaped using separate routes.

Mazlan said footage obtained from closed-circuit television cameras belonging to the premises near the mall suggest that a total of eight suspects were involved in the robbery.

"For now, we can ascertain that those involved in the heist were all locals. There were eight of them and they fled on four motorcycles.

"Two bikes headed to the south while another pair, to Batu Caves."

Mazlan said investigations suggest that the suspects had studied the goldsmith and areas surrounding the shop.

"They learnt that the jewellery display glasses were not equipped with shatterproof protection and that was the reason they could scoop the gold items in three minutes."

Mazlan said motorcycles were used as the getaway vehicles to avoid getting stuck in traffic congestion during peak hours.

So far 10 statements have been recorded from witnesses at the scene.

Last Sunday, the group of robbers struck at a crowded mall in Taman Segar here, and escaped with gold items in a heist that lasted a mere three minutes.