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Some of the cartons found floating in the Batu 4 waters. NSTP/Courtesy of Sabah marine police.

TAWAU: Smugglers tossed away cartons of contraband cigarettes into the sea before speeding off towards the Indonesian waters during a police operation, here, yesterday.

Sabah marine police chief Assistant Commissioner Mohamad Pajeri Ali said while the smugglers managed to slipped away, the police seized 1,270 cartons of contraband cigarettes, estimated to be worth about RM38,100.

In the 7.30pm incident, he said a marine police team was conducting surveillance around the Batu 4 waters in an operation dubbed 'Op Gelora Khas' before spotting a suspicious-looking boat lurking nearby.

A policeman shows the contraband cigarettes which were dumped by smugglers in the Batu 4 waters. NSTP/Courtesy of Sabah marine police.

However, the skipper, upon noticing the police presence at the area, immediately sped off towards Indonesian maritime border.

"A sea chase ensued and the team saw a man hurriedly throwing their loads into the sea while trying to escape into neighbouring country's waters," he said.

The marine police team then fished out the boxes containing the cigarettes.

In a separate case, Mohamad Pajeri said the marine police detained a trawler after its crewmembers were found to be fishing outside the permitted zone at 5.40am today.

Mohamad Pajeri said the trawler and crewmembers were brought to the marine base here for further investigation under the Fisheries Act 1985.

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