Sandakan MMEA seizes 305 packets of subsidised cooking oil in smuggling bust

KOTA KINABALU: Authorities found 305 packets of 1kg subsidised cooking oil left behind in a boat in Sandakan waters on Saturday (June 25), believed hidden in an attempt to smuggle them into a neighbouring country.

Sandakan zone Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) discovered the goods inside the vessel that was docked and covered among the mangrove trees near Sungai Besar Tanjung Aru waters, at 12.20pm when conducting Ops Pluto Timor.

The boat registered under a fishing licence is believed to have been abandoned by the owner once the culprit realised the presence of enforcement officers who were on patrol around that area, said Sandakan MMEA director Maritime Capt Zainudin Mohd Zuki.

“Further inspection found 18 boxes filled with 305 packets of cooking oil, suspected to be intended for smuggling into a neighbouring country.

“The estimated value of all seized goods including the boat and outboard engine totalled to RM21,000.

“All confiscated items have been brought to the Sandakan maritime jetty and handed over to the investigating officer for further actions,” added Zainudin in a statement on Sunday (June 26).

He said further investigation will be carried out to trace the boat owner, mastermind and culprits behind the smuggling activities, and the case is being investigated under Control of Supplies Act 1961.