Three slapped with 11 charges for Sabah's catamaran tragedy

OLIVIA MIWIL


KOTA KINABALU: Three people claimed trial to 11 charges at the Tourism court here in catamaran mishap which killed four Chinese tourists.

The three were slapped with various charges related to the Jan 28 incident in which a catamaran capsized en route to Pulau Mengalum with 28 tourists from China on board.

Twenty were rescued but four, He Runyuan, 46, Wang Jian Yi, 38, Xie Luo, 49, and Zhang Xiau Kun, 27, died and another four, still missing.

The charges were read before Sessions judge Noor Hafizah Salim.

Tour company owner Chung Ket Siew, manager Leong Vin Jee and skipper Sharezza Salian pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The trio were charged under Section 337 and 304A of Penal Code for taking the boat out to sea in a negligent manner that endangered human life and the personal safety of others.

Sharezza and Leong also faced the charges under Regulation 16 of Ports and Harbours (Sabah Licensed Small ships) Regulations 2008 for failing to keep on board safety equipment such as life jackets and buoys.

The duo had also used a non-designated landing point, the Kampung Tanjung Aru Lama jetty, which is a punishable offence under Regulation 13 of Ports and Harbours (Ports, Harbours and Dues) Regulations 2008.

Leong and his mother, Chung, also faced a charge under Regulation 9 Ports and Harbours (Sabah Licensed Small ships) Regulations 2008 for failing to keep the boat licence on the vessel.

Chung also made the offence under Regulation 13 of same regulations as the registered owner of the boat, for failing to report to the authorities Sharezza’s position as the skipper.

Another charge under Section 282 of Penal Code for ferrying passenger on unsafe water transportation was also read to Leong.

Deputy Public Prosecutor senior federal counsel Robert Pasang Alam described the case as serious and high-profile as it caused four death.

Noor Hafizah set RM16,000 bails for each of the accused with one surety each, and for all three to surrender their passports, and to report to the police station every first and third Fridays of the month.

Sharezza,26 , who is serving a six-month imprisonment, would need to report to Pulau Gaya once released.

The skipper had last month pleaded guilty to ferrying people in unsafe water transportation.

Robert added the prosecuting team also suggested the three accused to be jointly tried as the charges were related.

Deputy public prosecutors are Nartiah F Mirchelle and Nurun Nazifah Muhammad Iyen Atim.

Leong and Chung are represented by Lindsay Micheal.

The court fixed March 30 for case management and trial from June 6 to June 16.