‘Novel methods’ being used to smuggle drugs into Singapore

SINGAPORE (CNA) – Drug traffickers and syndicates operating in Singapore are using “novel” smuggling methods to exploit COVID-19 travel restrictions, the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in border closures and movement restrictions worldwide,” a spokesperson said in response to queries from CNA. Yet, drug traffickers and syndicates continue to exploit this situation, coming up with novel methods to smuggle drugs into Singapore, in order to reap profits from those trapped in the vicious cycle of drug abuse and misery.”

The novel methods include hiding drugs inside fruits like coconut or papaya. People have also been arrested on suspicion of using a drone to import drugs into Singapore from Malaysia. This comes after CNB announced on November 13 that it had seized almost SGD2 million worth of drugs including 14 kilogrammes of heroin, which was its largest single haul of the drug in nearly two decades.

“Even with movement restrictions due to the COVID-19 situation, drug traffickers are still taking huge gambles, exploiting the situation, so they can profit off addiction,” CNB Intelligence Division director Superintendent Aaron Tang had said then.

Other notable busts include the seizure of over kilogrammes of heroin and one kilogramme of ice on September 21, as well as more than 11 kilogrammes of heroin on July 30.

A check by CNA showed that more heroin was seized by the authorities from April onwards, when the “circuit breaker” kicked in, than the whole of last year.

Drugs have been smuggled into Singapore by (clockwise from left) drone or hidden in a papaya and coconut. PHOTO: CNA