KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: Despite a blaze of publicity warning Malaysians not to be swayed or tricked into becoming drug mules, there are still many being arrested abroad.
According to latest figures from Bukit Aman, 12 Malaysians were arrested by Indonesian authorities between January and May this year for drug trafficking.
"Indonesian police arrested a total of 42 foreigners during this period, including nationals from Iran, the Philippines, India, France and Nigeria for attempted drug smuggling," a source told the New Sunday Times.
"Based on reports received by Bukit Aman, those arrested were detected trying to smuggle ice and amphetamine pills into Indonesia."
It is learnt that smuggling attempts were foiled at various international airports around Indonesia as drug syndicates attempted to evade detection by avoiding the main terminal in Jakarta.
"The majority of those arrested were found to have arrived in Indonesia after departing from Kuala Lumpur or Hong Kong.
"The drugs were either hidden in the luggage or around the waist."
In some cases, the source said, a mule had hidden the drugs in her underwear thinking it would not be detected by authorities at the airport.
The seizures over the first five months of this year included 118,000 Ecstasy pills, 83kg of ketamine, 152kg of syabu or ice and 162gm of cocaine.
"Because of the high demand for synthetic drugs in Indonesia, drug syndicates offered lucrative fees to those who were willing to smuggle the goods," the source said.
Federal Narcotics deputy director Datuk Othman Harun confirmed that his department had received many reports on Malaysian drug mules arrested in Indonesia.
"Malaysian police have had several discussions with our counterparts in Indonesia and Hong Kong on implementing measures to stem the flow of drugs."
In the latest case on May 28, a Malaysian transvestite was arrested by Indonesian authorities after he was caught with 500gm of syabu.
The 52-year-old man was arrested by authorities at the Juanda Surabaya International Airport in east Java after being found with the drugs worth RM50,000 (S$21,385) around his stomach.
The suspect was picked up after disembarking off a flight from Hong Kong. Investigations showed he was posing as a tourist while trying to smuggle the drugs into Indonesia.
A week before that, two Malaysians, aged 21 and 27, were arrested at the same airport after being found with 2kg of syabu, also tied around the waist. -NST