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The Big Story

Inside Malaysia's $15bn battle with the lost Sultanate of Sulu

Hereditary rulers of kingdom in the Philippines see court case as way back to former greatness

FRANCESCA REGALADO, Nikkei staff writer | Southeast Asia

LAHAD DATU, SABAH – Nothing about the crossing was immediately unusual. For centuries, people traveled the 200 kilometers of water between here and Tawi-Tawi, the Philippines’ southernmost province, to sell wares or purchase goods.

But in the dead of night 10 years ago, two motorboats crossed over into neighboring Malaysia and landed on Sabah, carrying around 200 elderly men, a dozen World War II rifles and their leader, a 72-year-old prince. 

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