Drugs Guns And Girls What Gets Smuggled Through The Jungle

Palm oil estates in Terengganu and Kelantan often hid ‘rat trails’ like this through which subsidised rice and diesel was smuggled to Thailand in exchange for other commodities. (Bernama pic)PETALING JAYA: In the east coast states of Terengganu and Kelantan, acres of palm oil estates provide an income for farmers and smallholders, but also hide a dangerous secret: jungle paths known colloquially as “rat trails” through which contraband was regularly moved
According to a study conducted by the government’s Performance Management and Delivery Unit in 2016, these paths which cut through the states and across the Thai border were partly underground to avoid any suspicion
Through them, smugglers moved subsidised rice and diesel in exchange for highly prized commodities: drugs, guns and women
“There was big money involved,” a researcher involved in the study told FMT
Smugglers could get commissions of up to RM500 per woman. These women, from Thailand, were then prostituted throughout the country. Alternatively, they became call girls at night clubs for RM32 an hour, with more charges for “additional services”, the researcher said
The guns, mostly old-fashioned Smith & Wesson firearms or Glocks, were bought for RM300 each while bullets went for RM1 apiece. The weapons themselves were often used in robberies
But the main focus of the study was the drugs, with research showing that Kelantan and Terengganu had one of the highest numbers of addicts in the country
The study showed that many youth in the states were unemployed and turned to smuggling rice and diesel in exchange for drugs in order to make a quick buck
“No one wanted heroin,” another researcher said. “The sought-after drugs were meth and syabu.”Each pill was sold for about RM8 – much less than the price of such drugs in big cities
This was because the pills were often mixed with flour or talcum powder. Unadulterated pills, on the other hand, could fetch as much as RM35 to RM45 each
Abdul Hamid Bador, who took over as inspector-general of police in May, said in July that the country’s drug problem was worsening
Unless serious measures are taken to combat the menace, he said, Malaysia could become a major source of narcotics
“If we do not check (this) now, we could lead the way just like Colombia,” he said. - FMT

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