Boat Tragedy: Tourism Court To Hear Case Of Owner Who Overloaded

File photo of the  catamaran that capsized while on its way to Pulau Mengalum on January 28. Four people are confirmed dead and five more still missing. – Photo provided by MMEA Sabah
Leong Vin Jee

KOTA KINABALU: A catamaran owner who claimed trial to endangering the lives of passengers on Jan 28 by allowing his boat to be overloaded will have his case heard in the Tourism Court here.

Magistrate Stephanie Sharron Abbie Monday granted deputy public prosecutor Nartiah F Mirchelle Sambatan’s application for the case to be transferred. She said the date for remention would be set by the Tourism court.

Earlier when applying for the transfer under Section 177 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the DPP informed the magistrate that Leong Vin Jee, 43, was expected to be charged with other related offences this week.

Counsel Edward Paul did not object to the application.

On Feb 5, Leong claimed trial to allowing his boat to carry passengers exceeding the number permitted in his licence.

He was charged under Section 282 of the Penal Code, which carries a maximum six months’ jail or a RM2,000 fine or both, on conviction.

He was released on RM5,000 bail with one local surety.

In the 10am tragedy on Jan 28, the boat carrying 28 Chinese tourists and three crew capsized in strong winds and huge waves while heading to Pulau Mengalum after starting off from a jetty in Tanjung Aru.

Twenty-six of the victims were found but four of them perished.

A search and rescue operation is still being conducted to locate the remaining five victims.