GOF seizes 3,000 smuggled turtle eggs near Sandakan

KOTA KINABALU: The General Operations Force (GOF) have seized 3,000 turtle eggs from a boatman trying to slip into waters near Sandakan in Sabah's east coast.

Sandakan-based GOF Battalion 15 commander Supt Toipi Lamat said the 31-year-old boatman was arrested after his boat was intercepted off Nunuyan Darat in Sandakan at about 8.30pm on Saturday (April 17).

Supt Toipi said they believed the suspect tried to slip in at that time as he thought security forces would not be on patrol as it was during terawih prayers.

He said a GOF Tiger Platoon team led by Inspector Mohammad Halil Husairy Hussain were carrying out sea patrols under Ops Benteng when they spotted the boat heading towards Kampung Nunuyan Darat.

He added that the boatman tried to run off but the team intercepted the boat after a brief chase.

He said the suspect was not able to provide any identification documents.

On inspection, the GOF team found six sacks filled with about 500 turtle eggs each.

"The suspect was seen throwing objects into the sea and we believe he was throwing out some eggs," he added.

Supt Toipi added that the investigation found that the suspect was smuggling the eggs from Taganak Island in the southern Philippines and was headed for the Sandakan market.

He said that the police will hand over the investigation to the Wildlife Department for further action under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 for possession of the endangered turtle eggs while the suspect will also be referred to the Immigration Department.

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