The Borneo Post (Sabah)
Five held over cigarettes, petrol smuggling in Semporna
SEMPORNA: The General Operations Force (GOF) detained five men in two separate incidents and seized smuggled cigarettes and petrol in the waters near Bohayan Island on Thursday.
GOF Battalion 14 (Tawau) Commanding Officer, Supt Mohd Yacob Murad said at about 5.45 am, a team from company A led by ASP Shankar Ganesh A/L Govindasami had patrolled the area and detected a boat moving from the waters of Semporna to the Philippines.
Noticing the presence of the police force, he said the boat skipper sped up his boat to escape but was intercepted by the police boat.
He said the boat was carrying three foreign men aged between 24 to 39 without any valid identity documents.
Further inspection on the boat found green gas barrels and 6 containers with a capacity of 50 litres containing petrol which were believed to be subsidized petrol and were being smuggled out to neighbouring countries.
Also seized was the speedboat and a Yamaha 40hp outboard engine with an estimated value of RM14,595, he said.
According to Supt. Mohd Yacob at about 9 am, located at the village of Bohayan Island, the same team also saw several people in a suspicious manner fleeing from two boats tied to the mast of a house.
As a result of the initial inspection, he said two local men, aged 17 and 27 were found inside the house.
He said a search in the house found a large brown box containing five packs of L3 Menthol cigarettes, five packs of New RS Menthol cigarettes, three packs of Astro Putih cigarettes and a pack of Tradition cigarettes in one of the rooms of the house. The cigarettes are believed to be contraband cigarettes that are being sold for the local market.
Meanwhile the inspection on the two boats found 109 containers with a capacity of 50 litres and 35 of them contained petrol believed to be subsidized petrol, he said.
Also seized were a total of 136,700 Philippine pesos in cash, RM190 cash, two speedboats, two Yamaha 250hp OBM engines and a Yamaha 40hp outboard engine with an estimated value of RM232,314.50.
All arrests and seizures were brought to the Semporna District Police Headquarters for further investigation and action.