Four foreigners believed drowned in bid to escape

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 10 Jul 2004


PENANG: At least four foreigners are believed to have drowned after jumping into a river in Seberang Prai while trying to flee a police blitz on illegal foreign workers. 

The bodies of three men, believed to be two Indonesians and a Myanmar, in their early 20s and mid-30s, were recovered from Sungai Dua between 8am and 3pm yesterday.  

A passer-by spotted the first body while the other two were found washed up along the riverbank less than 1km apart by the police. Only one of the bodies has been identified. 

On Wednesday night, a police team had raided a construction site in Butterworth. It is learnt that about 15 foreign workers jumped into the river next to the site but only 10 reappeared and were subsequently arrested. 

State police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Othman Talib said it was initially thought that the three foreigners were killed in a fight as they had injuries on the face and neck resembling stab and slash wounds. 

“But a post-mortem by forensic pathologist Dr Bhupinder Singh revealed that they had drowned. The wounds were apparently caused by the bodies hitting against rocks and also fish bites. 

“They could have hit their heads against some rocks and lost consciousness when diving into the river. Their bodies only started floating two days later,” he said.  

A fourth body was apparently spotted by another passer-by at 5pm but by the time a police team arrived at the scene, it had disappeared. At press time, the team was still searching for the body.  

Another body, believed to be that of a Bangladeshi who had died of heart failure, was also found at a housing estate across the river from the construction site.  

Police are trying to determine if the man, in his 40s, was one of the five missing foreigners who had made it to the other side but overexerted himself while trying to get away. 

Another angle they are looking at is that he was a worker who had died of natural causes and was dumped in the area.  

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