Police have identified and are looking for a Malaysian woman in her 40’s to be the person who distributed pre-mixed coffee laced with drugs to the public in Penang.
- Tampering by opening, adding foreign substances, resealing sachets of pre-mix durian white coffee and Penang white coffee
- Drug-laced coffee packets meant for distribution by a syndicate at entertainment outlets in Penang
- Coffee powder could have been mixed with ketamine, syabu or ecstasy
- Pre-mix coffee won’t be pulled off shelves as no proof of contamination
The woman is believed to have started distributing the tampered coffee sachets around the Jelutong area at the end of last month.
Speaking to reporters during a press conference this afternoon, Northeast district police chief Assistant Commissioner Datuk Anuar Omar urged the woman to come forward and cooperate with police on their investigations.
Police also want to record her statement under Section 272 of the Penal Code for adulteration of food or drink which is intended for sale. It provides for a jail sentence of up to six months or a fine of RM2,000, or both.
A total of seven victims have so far been hospitalised after drinking the coffee mixture that they obtained for free from unknown individuals.
“We are expected to receive chemical test results of the coffee samples seized last week and that will disclose the actual ingredients of the foreign substances added to the coffee mixture,” he said.
Initial investigations revealed that 10g of drugs were added to each tempered coffee sachet.
“For now we found only two types of pre-mix coffee that were tampered with this foreign substance and we have also received a report from the coffee manufacturer,” Anuar said.
On Jan 27, two women were admitted to a hospital with symptoms of fatigue and weakness after consuming the pre-mix durian white coffee that was donated to a temple.
A few days later, two Nepalese security guards were rushed to the hospital with similar symptoms after drinking the same type of coffee.
Three more cases were reported over the last few days after the victims consumed the same pre-mix durian white coffee and also the Penang white coffee.
According to Bukit Aman Narcotics Crime Investigation Department deputy director DCP Datuk Kang Chez Chiang, the durian white coffee packets, which were laced with drugs, were meant for distribution by a syndicate at local nightclubs.
Kang said police are in the midst of identifying the syndicate.
“We believe the drug-laced coffee powder was meant for entertainment outlets in Penang but the syndicate discarded it along the road at Taman Ria, Air Itam in Penang possibly fearing police action,” he said today.
Kang added police believe members of the public who picked up the coffee packets would not know that the instant durian coffee mixture was laced with drugs.
“The public would not know the difference whether it was a new packet or a re-sealed packet.
“The coffee powder could have been mixed with ketamine, syabu or ecstasy. Maybe the syndicate set a price for each mixture. If a single type of drug mixed with coffee powder could cost RM200, two types of drugs mixture could cost RM300 and so on.
“The durian coffee incident is confined to Penang so far,” he said.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam said investigations into the drug-laced durian white coffee mixture by his ministry’s Safety Department is expected to be finalised by end of next week.
He said investigations at the manufacturing processing premises and on coffee batches on the shelves, are being carried out.
“As I’ve said in Penang yesterday, there is a consistency – none of those who had taken this coffee bought it in a shop. It’s either given by individuals or taken from garbage cans, so there’s something fishy here, which is why we’ve asked the police to investigate it thoroughly whether there’s an element of a crime,” he added.
On Feb 4, the Health Ministry said that it would not order a recall of the pre-mix durian white coffee as there was no evidence of contamination.
Dr Subramaniam said that the ministry had paid a visit to the factory and found no evidence of drugs after conducting tests on their products.
Earlier report: Jan 31, Instant Coffee Drink Sends 2 Men into Penang Hospital Emergency