Ill-Fated Catamaran Owner May Have 6 More Charges Against Him

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File photo of Leong and Sharezza when they were brought to court last month to first face charges.

KOTA KINABALU: The owner of the catamaran which sunk off Pulau Mengalum on the first day of Chinese New Year could be slapped with as many as six additional charges, according to a news report Tuesday.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Umar Faiz Abd Kohar told the magistrates court here that Leong Vin Jee, 44, who is charged with ferrying people on an overloaded sea vessel, may have his case heard together with new charges at the Tourism Court.

Leong had on Feb 5 pleaded not guilty to the earlier charge against him.

According to the Star online, DPP Umar Faiz said he is however still awaiting approval and a directive from his superiors on the new charges. He did not specify what the charges would be.

Magistrate Stephanie Sharron Abbie adjourned Leong’s pre-trial case management to March 13 pending a decision on the additional charges and transfer of the case to the Tourism Court.

She also extended Leong’s RM5,000 bail.

Earlier this month, skipper Sharezza Salian, who was charged with the same offence together with Leong, pleaded guilty and was jailed six months by the Sessions Court.

Sharezza and Aman were on board the catamaran with 29 others, comprising 28 Chinese tourists, when the vessel sank on Jan 28. They were the first two to be rescued.

Four people have been found dead while five others, including four Chinese tourists and a local crewman, remain missing.