Eight men from Malaysia and the Philippines have been jailed for two years for trying to smuggle alcohol through Brunei in early December in an operation that cost the lives of two people when their boats collided.

Brunei police said seven men left from Labuan in Malaysia at 6pm on December 5 with a boatload of alcohol and were later joined by a second boat carrying three men with more alcohol, The Borneo Post said.

Eight men were rescued by a passing ferry after the two boats collided in a river in Brunei, throwing everyone into the water. One man was killed  in the collision and a second remains missing, presumed drowned.

The men told police they were carrying a load of fish that was to be sold in Limbang, northern Sarawak. However, cartons containing alcohol were found drifting in water near the scene of the accident. All eight were convicted of smuggling and providing false statements.

Muslim Brunei has some of the strictest laws against alcohol in the world. There is a ban on the sale of alcohol, though non-Muslims may bring in limited amounts for their own consumption.