sandakan: A member of the General Operations Force (GOF) fell into the sea during a high-speed chase here that ended with the arrest of three suspected smugglers.
Eastern Sabah Security Command director-general Datuk Mohamad Mantek said the policeman injured his right hand and abdomen during the incident near Pulau Berhala at about 7.30pm on Saturday.
According to him, security personnel were forced to fire warning shots to stop the vessel, which was equipped with a 200hp outboard engine.
It was speeding from the direction of Pulau Bakungan Besar in Philippine waters.
After intercepting the vessel, GOF personnel found 42 empty jerry cans that were used for smuggling subsidised fuel from Malaysia to the southern Philippines. There were no weapons found in the boat.
One of the three suspects was aged 54 and possessed a Malaysian identity card, while the others did not have any identification documents.
Initial investigations revealed that the men had managed to smuggle a cargo of fuel at about 4pm from Sandakan to Pulau Bakungan Besar.
Mohamad said they were making another run to Sandakan to smuggle out more fuel when the GOF personnel spotted them.
GOF is the paramilitary arm of the Royal Malaysian Police.