Malaysia Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from Malaysia’s black market. Intelligence data and security information collected from government agencies, news articles and other public data sources.


Two cases of illegal gambling syndicates in Asia highlight the amount of money being wagered on the 2014 World Cup.

Police in Macau broke up a ring that took in $645 Million during the opening matches. 22 people were arrested by police in China, Hong Kong and Malaysia. The syndicate was operating out of three hotel rooms in Macau where they took internet and phone bets from people around the world. One gambler allegedly placed a $5 Million bet with the syndicate.

In the same hotel, police broke up a different illegal gambling ring that took in up to $645,000 in bets in a single day during the World Cup.

Hong Kong police seized illegal betting slips that had around $10 Million in bets placed and arrested 39 people in the first two weeks of the tournament. Illegal sports betting in Hong Kong generates about $64.5 Billion each year in the territory.

Singapore security officials arrested 15 people in a illegal gambling ring that took in $640,000 in World Cup bets during the opening stages of the World Cup.

Over half of all illegal sports gambling takes place in Asia.

(See all illegal sports gambling statistics and figures here.)

Source: Sophie Brown, “Macau busts $645 million World Cup betting ring,” CNN, June 23, 2014.


Based on statistics released by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), there were at least 20,000 elephants killed world wide by poachers in 2013 for their ivory tusks. The number of elephants killed was slightly down from the 22,000 elephants killed in 2012 and the 25,000 poached in 2011.

At the end of 2013, there were an estimated 500,000 African elephants living in the world. 95 percent of the elephant population has been killed during the last 100 years.

The ivory is collected from elephants in Africa and sold in markets in Asia. According to Cites, there are 8 countries that are heavily involved in either buying, selling or providing illicit ivory. The countries are Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in Africa, and China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam in Asia.

The three African countries accounted for 80 percent of the major seizures in Africa in 2013.

Security forces stated that many of the gangs involved in wildlife trafficking are now using existing drug trafficking routes to smuggle the ivory.

(See more elephant poaching statistics here.)

Source:  Damian Carrington, “Fewer elephants killed in 2013, figures show,” Guardian, June 13, 2014.

Security officials estimate that illegal online gambling syndicates earn up to $2.4 Billion (7.9 Billion Malaysian Ringgit) a year from illegal gambling activities in Malaysia.

Intelligence by enforcement agencies shows that online bookies are able to make a daily profit of $3,112 (10,000 Ringgit) from illegal gamblers in the Malaysia. A start-up gambling website with $15,500 (50,000 Ringgit) in capital is able to collected between $2,178 to $3,112 (7,000 to 10,000 Ringgit) per day with a few customers.

The online syndicates use covers such as cyber cafes and restaurants to hid their gambling activities and to wash their funds.

(Additional money laundering  cases.)

Source:  Rahimy Rahim and Allison Lai, “Gambling rings making almost RM8bil a year even with raids,” Asia One, May 26, 2014.


In a media report in Asia, drug abusers from Singapore stated that they regularly travel to Malaysia in order to obtain drugs such as ecstasy and to party in Malaysian clubs.

According to one Singaporean who was at a club in Malaysia, the price for one ecstasy pill cost $2.38 (3 Singaporean Dollars). By comparison, a single ecstasy pill sold in Singapore would cost up to 10 times as much.

Another former addict who spoke to the press stated that up to 70 percent of the people he met at drug parties in Malaysia were from Singapore.

(Ecstasy pills for sale prices around the world.)

Source:  “More Singaporeans go abroad for drug fix,” The Star Online, April 7, 2014.

According to wildlife conservation groups, up to $1 Billion worth of illegally grown python skins are being imported into Europe each year. The black market trade in python skins helping to meet the demand for python skin handbags sold by Gucci and other luxury brands.

The legal market for python skins has grown from $137 Million (€100 Million) in 2005 to $1 Billion in 2014.

Although there are commercial farms growing python skins in Asia, industry officials believe that most of the skins being exported from Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia could have been collected from the black market.

(More exotic animals for sale prices.)

Source:  Sarah Butler, “Illegal python skins feed hunger for fashionable handbags and shoes,” Guardian, March 31, 2014.

An article by the Daily Express in the UK reported on the black market trade in valuable and rare orchids, and the prices that buyers purchase these flowers.

A rare Lady’s Slipper orchid, which is so rare that it is given police protection, was found on a golf course in the North of England. The flower was once thought to be extinct. It has been difficult to reintroduce the flower in other areas, creating a high demand for the flower. The flower reportedly can be bought for $8,358 (£5,000) each.

The Gold of Inabalu orchid can only be found in Malaysia, is sold for $5,850 (£3,500).

Peruvian orchids, which were discovered in 2001, were found to have be available for sale in the United States for $11,701 (£3,500).

The plant and flower trade is increasing in popularity around the world, leading to an increase in illegal cutting of flowers and other thefts. In the United Kingdom, theft from private gardens increased by 20 percent between 2008 and 2013.

(Prices of exotic animals for sale.)

There are 36,000 endangered plants and species around the world. Nearly 30,000 are from the orchid family.

The legal plant trade generates about $15 Billion (£9 Billion) a year.

Source:  Adrian Lee, “The black market for green fingers: Illegal trade in rare plants reaches startling scale,” Daily Express, February 18, 2014.

Human smugglers offer migrants and other individuals travel “packages” that smuggles them into Malaysia and provides them with a new identity.

According to a report by the New Straits Times, smugglers offer packages for $771 (2,500 Malaysian Ringgit) that would smuggle a person into Malaysia and provide them with fake identification.

(More prices about fake id cards for sale.)

The smugglers would provide an altered MyKad, which is the official identification card issued by the Government of Malaysia. The MyKad would be real, with the original owners id number, name and address, but would be altered with the smuggled person’s photo.

Security agents across Malaysia recently arrested 20 illegal immigrants who were working as security guards using altered MyKad documents.

Source:  Sim Bak Heng, “Brunei new entry point to Malaysia,” New Straits Times, December 16, 2013.

Artifacts that have been dug up from archeological sites in the state of Johor, Malaysia are being sold on the black market.

Cultural officials from Malaysia state that the total trade in black market artifacts could be near $1 Million. In an example of the trade, a single gold coin that was dug up by looters can be sold for $618 to $3,092 (2,000 to 10,000 Malaysian Ringgit.)

Officials believe that looters have been digging up artifacts over the past 40 year with the buyers of the artifacts bring private antique collectors and shops located across Southeast Asia.

Most of the looters who find the treasures are local villagers and fisherman. By law, the finders are supposed to turn in the artifacts to the government.

(More statistics on art theft.)

Source:  Desiree Tresa Gasper and Zazali Musa, “Ancient treasures for sale on modern eBay,” The Star, December 12, 2013.

The Vietnam Tobacco Association states that over 100 different brands of cigarettes are smuggled into Vietnam each year. The brands Jet and Hero are the most popular, with the two brands consisting of over 90 percent of the smuggled tobacco in the country.

Roughly 20 percent of the country’s tobacco market is smuggled cigarettes. Most of the black market tobacco are smuggled into the country from China, Laos, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Source:  “Vietnam Prepares For Rise In Cigarette Smuggling As New Year Festival Looms,” Bernama, November 13, 2013

Intellectual property experts in Malaysia state that the cost to produce a pirated DVD that is sold on the streets is $0.16 (.50 Malaysian Ringgit.)

The pirated DVD sellers are able to sell the discs on the streets for $0.95 to $1.58 (3 to 5 Ringgit).

Source:  Rashvinjeet S. Bedi, “Criminologist lauds crackdown on pirated DVD sellers,” Star, October 15, 2013.