‘Drink spiking’ alert: Americans told to stay away from popular KL nightclub

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TRAVELLING abroad will always come with its risks, but the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has deemed the dangers at one local nightclub so severe that they have warned their citizens to stay away. 

In a security alert released Friday, the department of diplomatic security warned of a bout of “coordinated drink-spiking,” specifically targeting foreigners, at popular city nightspot The Beach Club.

The statement officially designates the nightclub an “off-limits location” for all embassy personnel, claiming a “review of historical events,” rather than any one-off occurrence, brought them to this conclusion.

The warning sparked a response from Malaysian Home Deputy Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed. He called the action uncalled for, according to newswire Bernama. Jazlan urged any concerned patrons to contact the police with their complaint rather than posting it on social media.

“There is (really) no need to issue the travel advisory. Just tip off the police, (as) they can take action if there is a complaint. Such information can adversely impact the country’s image… in fact, it implies that all nightclubs in KL, and Malaysia are doing the same.”

He said he would instruct police to investigate the allegations.

The Beach Club is located in the heart of the city and has a long reputation for its prevalence of prostitutes. As one of Kuala Lumpur’s oldest nightclubs, it is well known among locals and expats for its slightly sleazy atmosphere and female tourists are generally encouraged to steer clear.

There is now speculation that the warning has already had a knock-on effect after KL mayor said Monday that the operation hours of brand new entertainment complex TREC would be revised following recent police advice.

Partying until 5am could soon be banned said Mohammad Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz, also indicating that other night spots could soon be under similar review in the Muslim-majority country. He did not confirm that the move to curtail closing times was directly related to the US.

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In response to the allegations of drink spiking, Jazlan said the police have been conducting raids in a bid to curb drug usage in the city.

“The police are conducting drug-prevention activities in nightclubs. Sometimes, the owners of these nightclubs are not aware of what is happening inside as those who provide the service (of fixing and serving drug-laced drinks) are the waiters and bartenders,” he said at a press conference on Saturday.

Malaysia has some of the strictest drug laws in the world. Until December 2017, the mandatory punishment for drug offences was the death penalty. This has since been changed to discretionary punishment, allowing the judge to take into consideration the circumstances surrounding the conviction.