KOTA KINABALU: The Tourism Court here saw a surprise when an elderly woman, who is the owner of a tour company, as well as her son, was slapped with various charges which included negligence that caused four Chinese tourists to drown on the first day of the lunar new year.
Chung Ket Siew @ Chung Siaw Ping, 64, the director of Golden Sailing Travel Tour and Car Rental, has been charged with negligence not amounting to culpable homicide in the Sessions Court here, according to a report in the Star.
She is also accused of allowing her son Leong Vin Jee, the company operations director, to use the vessel in such a way as to endanger human life.
Chung, 44, was charged under Section 304A of the Penal Code when produced before Sessions judge Noor Hafizah Mohd Salim on Thursday.
She is also charged under Section 337 of the same code for allowing Leong to use the boat negligently to endanger human life.
Chung is also accused of failing to report to Sabah Ports and the Harbour Department of a change in the boat skipper from Leong to Sharezza Salian.
Under the charges proffered by DPP Robert Pasang Alam, mother and son are also accused of breaching Regulation 9 of the Ports and Harbours (Sabah Licensed Small Ships) Regulations 2008 for failing to keep the boat licence on the vessel.
Like his mother, Leong is also charged with negligence not amounting to culpable homicide under Section 304A of the Penal Code over the deaths of the four China nationals.
He is also charged under Section 337 for allowing Sharezza to operate the boat negligently and endanger the safety of others.
Leong and Sharezza were also jointly charged under Regulation 13 of the Ports and Harbours (Ports, Harbour and Dues) Regulations 2008 for using a non-designated landing point at Kampung Tanjung Aru Lama for loading and disembarking passengers.
Both men are also accused of failing to have adequate safety equipment on board the catamaran on the same date.
Sharezza, 26, is also charged under Section 337 of the Penal Code for operating the boat negligently, leading to the death of the four Chinese tourists.
He faces a similar charge for injuring 20 Chinese nationals who survived the mishap.
All three claimed trial to the charges.
The court allowed Chung and Leong to be freed on bail of between RM3,000 and RM5,000 for each charge.
Sharezza was however brought back to prison as he was jailed for six months by a magistrate’s court for a prior conviction.
The Sessions Court also fixed June 6 to 16 for trial.
The Chinese nationals who drowned in the incident last January 28, were He Runyuan, 46, Wang Jianye, 38, Xie Luo,49, and Zhang Xiau Kun, 27.
Four more Chinese nationals and a local crewman remain missing.