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'Expect China tourist lawsuits'
Published on: Friday, April 07, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: The families of 28 China tourist victims of the Jan 28 catamaran boat capsize near Pulau Mengalum have engaged lawyers here to file petitions claiming for compensation from responsible quarters, including the tour operator.

China's Consul-General in Sabah Chen Peijie who disclosed this said they took the course of action before returning to their homes in China.

"I was made to understand that their lawyers are preparing the petitions regardless whether the victims are alive, still missing or died in the tragedy.

"The Consulate will closely monitor the process of filing the petitions and is willing to provide necessary assistance to the 28 families," she said.

Peijie said this to reporters at the opening of 14th sitting of the State Legislative Assembly by Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin, Thursday.


In the Jan 28 incident, 31 people on board the catamaran including 28 tourists from China and three crew were heading for Pulau Mengalum when it sank after departing from an undesignated jetty in Kg. Tanjung Aru here.

The tragedy claimed the lives of four tourists from China and five are still missing namely four China tourists and a crew.

Search and rescue operations headed by Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) entered the 69th day on Thursday with four assets comprising two MMEA assets and two assets of marine police scouring the waters northwest of Mengalum Island up to Kota Kinabalu.

On March 17, the tour operator and the catamaran skipper who were blamed for the tragedy as well as the operator's 64 year-old mother, Chung Ket Siew @ Chung Siaw Ping were hauled before the court.


Chung Ket Siew whose name appears on the licence of the company which operated the boat as director was charged with four counts and in one she was jointly charged with her son, Leong Vin Jee, 44, the operations manager of the company.

Leong now faces five additional charges after having been initially charged with overloading the catamaran with tourists which endangered the passengers' lives while boat skipper Sharezza Salian, 26, who is presently serving sentence for overloading the catamaran tourists, now faces four more charges.

Chung, Leong and Sharezza pleaded not guilty before Tourism Court Judge Noorhafizah Mohd Salim, who is also a Sessions Court Judge, to all the charges against them.

The trial will be heard in June this year. - Hayati Dzulkifli

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