Case against catamaran owner transferred to Tourism Court

KOTA KINABALU: A catamaran owner charged with ferrying people in unsafe conditions will have his case heard at the Tourism Court.

Leong Vin Jee (pic) will, however, only know his trial date later.

His case, which was supposed to be heard at the magistrate’s court, was allowed to be transferred to the Tourism Court where he will be slapped with additional charges.

Magistrate Stephanie Sherron Abbie extended Leong’s bail and said the Tourism Court would fix a date.

On Feb 5, Leong, 44, pleaded not guilty to overloading the cata­maran with tourists at 9.15am on Jan 28.

He had allegedly allowed the catamaran, which could only seat 12 passengers, to leave a jetty at Tanjung Aru Lama with 28, po­­sing a risk to the lives of the Chinese tourists on board.

Earlier last month, skipper Sharezza Salian, who was also charged under the same section with Leong, pleaded guilty and was jailed six months by the Sessions Court.

Guide Aman Abdul, 38, who was arrested together with Sharezza on Jan 29, will be a witness in the case.

Both Sharezza and Aman were on board the catamaran when it sank. They were the first two to be rescued.

Four Chinese tourists were killed while five others comprising four Chinese nationals and a local crewman remain missing.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency Sabah and Labuan regional director Mohd Zubil Mat Som said the search for the missing five has entered the 45th day with search areas focused around Pulau Menga­lum up to Kota Kinabalu.

Courts Crime , catamaran