Semporna whale shark rider's identity still a mystery

KOTA KINABALU: The man who was caught on video riding a whale shark in Semporna district has yet to be identified.

Sabah Parks director Maklarin Lakim said they have narrowed down the suspected tour companies involved to two, but were still short of concrete proof to name a suspect.

“No agent or tour company has come forward to give us a name. We have narrowed down the companies that might be involved,” he said here on Wednesday (Nov 30).

ALSO READ: Uproar over man riding whale shark

He said investigations were still ongoing to find the culprit.

In the incident which was captured in a 17-second clip, believed to have taken place at Pulau Sibuan on Friday (Nov 25), a man was seen riding on and swimming with a whale shark.

The matter came to light following a report by the Semporna Professional Diver Association which expressed dismay over the incident.

Maklarin said a meeting is expected to be held with the association on Thursday (Dec 1) as part of their mitigation measures.

ALSO READ: Sabah Parks going after whale shark rider in Semporna waters

Under the Parks Enactment 1984 for areas under its jurisdiction, no one is allowed to touch or possess any of the marine species on islands or parks within Sabah Parks, without permission and supervision, and only for research and other scientific purposes.

An offender can either be fined or jailed upon conviction.

The Sabah Wildlife Department, through its Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, also provides either jail or a fine for offenders.

The penalties range from a fine of between RM50,000 and RM150,000, a jail term of six months to three years, or both upon conviction.

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