SANDAKAN, May 11 – The Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) security force personnel fired a warning shot after a speed boat came into contact with their patrol boat and arrested three men suspected of smuggling petrol near the Pulau Berhala waters, near here Saturday. ESScom director-general Datuk Mohammad Mentek said the security personnel from the General Operations Force (GOF) were patrolling the waters between Pulau Berhala and Tanjung Aru during the 7.30 pm incident. “The suspicious speed boat with three men on board came into contact with one of the two patrol boats, causing one of our personnel to be thrown into the sea and sustained injuries.

“Our security personnel detained the three suspects, including one who is injured, and the boat,” he said in a statement here today. Mohammad said, upon inspection, the security personnel found 42 empty jerry cans while initial reports revealed the three suspects had used the speed boat from Bangkungan Besar island in the Philippines to Tanjung Aru, Sandakan at about 6 pm.

“The suspects are suspected of smuggling petrol from Sandakan to Bakungan Besar, in the Philippines at 4 pm with around eight drums of petrol filled inside the jerry cans. The incident occurred during their return trip to Sandakan,” he said. He said two of the suspects were Suluk, including a 54-year-old man who was in possession of an identity card and the other one without any documents. However no weapons were found in the speed boat, he said.

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