JITRA, Sept 26 — Police have seized more than 1.3 tonnes of ketum leaves, worth about RM13,000, in an operation in Sungai Badak forest reserve, near Bukit Kayu Hitam, yesterday morning.

Kedah police chief Datuk Hasanuddin Hassan said in the operation at about 11am, the Narcotics Crime Investigation team of the Kubang Pasu district police headquarters traversed the forest about 10 kilometres from the main road (Jalan Sintok to Padang Terap).

“Upon arrival at the location, we found three huts, made of plastic, canvas and wood, storing piles of gunny sacks filled with green leaves suspected to be ketum leaves.

“We monitored the place for six hours, but no one came to claim it, so we seized it and brought it back for investigation,” he told reporters here today.

He said a total of 15 sacks were successfully removed from the location, while another 85 sacks will be released in stages.

Hasanuddin said initial investigation found that the seized ketum leaves were likely to be in transit before being smuggled to a neighbouring country, as it was in high demand there apart from some locations close to the Malaysian-Thai border.

“We estimate the market price (of ketum leaves) here is between RM10 to RM15 per kilogramme, but when smuggled to the neighbouring country, it could reach RM50 to RM60 per kilogramme and this is the biggest seizure so far this year,” he said.

He added that the case is being investigated under Section 30(1) of the Poisons Act 1952. — Bernama