Fish bombing case: Police not ruling out murder

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 09 Jul 2019

KOTA KINABALU: Police are not ruling out murder in the case of the three divers thought to have been killed by fish bombs in Semporna on Friday (July 5).

Sabah police commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah said the incident at Pulau Kalapuan, which had been classified as murder, would be investigated from all aspects.

Asked whether it could be more murder due to jealousy or whatever unknown reasons, he said these were assumptions.

“But we will look into all aspects and investigate various angles,” Omar said during a press conference here on Tuesday (July 9).

Following the incident, a series of inspections were conducted on all fishing boats in search of suspects, fish bombs and anyone who might have been involved in fish bombing activities in the area.

So far, over 10 undocumented people, including sea gypsies, have been detained.

The incident last Friday saw dive instructor Ab Zainal Abdu (an IMM13 holder), 30, and two China nationals – Zhao Zhong, 26, and Xu Yingjie, 26 – killed in waters off Pulau Kalapuan while diving between 2.30pm and 3.30pm.

IMM13 holders are Filipino refugees and their children who fled to Sabah due to the Civil War in their country in the 70s.

Omar said the two men – a 24-year-old boatman and guide, 23 – nabbed earlier to facilitate investigations into the case were still being detained.

“These two detained men are not necessarily the main suspects, but are important to this probe,” he said adding the two were relatives of Zainal.

He said the police's main focus was still to conduct their probe from the fish bomb aspect, though no one heard a blast go off during the incident. 

Witnesses only saw foam, some dead fish and damaged corals, Omar said.

He said there were also huge chunks of broken corals found on the body of one of the Chinese diver.

“This is based on circumstantial evidence – but there were people saying that they saw a boat with three people on it near the area prior to the alleged fish bombing,” he said.

However, Omar said there were still no signs of these three people. Maritime police are hunting them, as they believe the three could help shed light on the incident.

As to whether they were explosives or fish bombs found at the scene of incident, he said they were broken bottle pieces found.

Bottles can be used to make fish bombs.

Meanwhile, the post-mortem on the three victims are expected to be conducted on Tuesday.

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