TAWAU: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) arrested two men and seized two boats containing controlled goods worth RM100,000 that were being smuggled out to neighbouring countries along Tawau waters here yesterday.

Tawau Maritime Zone director Maritime Captain Shahrizan Raman said MMEA patrol teams arrested the suspects aged 24 and 32 and foiled their getaway at two locations under Op Tiris at 1.45 pm and Op Pluto Timur at 2.30 pm.

“At 1.45pm, a boat operated by a 24-year-old man was spotted moving towards the Malaysia-Indonesia border and was detained 0.6 nautical miles north of the mouth of Sungai Melayu where we found a cargo of 1,000 kilogrammes of white rice, 561 kg of packet cooking oil, 325 litres of petrol, 48 kg of granulated sugar and four tanks of LPG gas.

“At 2.30 pm about 1.0 nautical mile south of Kuala Sungai Tawau, another cargo boat operated by a 32-year-old man was also seized because it was carrying 10 gallons (250 litres) of diesel, eight gallons (200 litres) of petrol, 72 bottles of liquor and 33 cartons of cigarettes,” he said here today.

He said the pilots of both boats failed to show any valid permits and licence related to carrying controlled goods and were in violation of the Sabah Ports and Harbour Enactment.

According to him, MMEA will continue to crack down smuggling of controlled goods that occur in the border waters of the country, as rogue traders try to obscure the authorities with various tactics but intelligence will be intensified.

Shahrizan appealed to the public with any information related to crime at sea to contact the Tawau Maritime Zone operations centre at 089-750116 or MERS 999. - Bernama

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