SEMPORNA: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has foiled two attempts to smuggle petrol in waters off Sabah's Semporna and Lahad Datu that straddles with the southern Philippines.
MMEA enforcement personnel intercepted a jongkong (long wooden boat) in waters near Tanjung Pantau-Pantau, Semporna around 10.30pm on Friday (March 13) based on an intelligence report.
MMEA Semporna director maritime commander Norrimi Hassan said that the two men onboard the jongkong jumped into the sea and swam towards a nearby mangrove swamp to escape.
On searching the abandoned jongkong, they found 180 jerrycans containing petrol on board.
Norrimi said the jongkong with the petrol, worth around RM28,200, was towed back to Kem Azumi jetty for further action under the Control of Supplies Act 1961.
In Lahad Datu, two Filipinos were nabbed and 980 litres of petrol, estimated to be worth around RM1,783, were seized from their boat about 0.3 nautical miles south of Kampung Kenali around 8pm on Saturday (March 14).
MMEA Lahad Datu director maritime commander Abdul Muhaimin Muhammad Salleh said an MMEA personnel in a decoy boat intercepted a boat during a special operation in Felda Sahabat waters.
The boat skipper and a crew member, aged 56 and 25, who did not have identification documents, were detained for attempting to smuggle the petrol to the Philippines, Muhaimin said.
Muhaimin said both men together with the boat, a 40hp engine and the petrol, were taken to the Felda Sahabat MMEA post for investigation under the Immigration Act 1959/63 and Control of Supplies Act 1961.
It is understood that Malaysian security forces are concerned over the smuggling of fuel from Sabah’s east coast to the southern Philippine islands as they fear it will be used by Filipino cross-border criminals to mounts forays into the state.
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