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Three told to enter their defence
Published on: Thursday, July 19, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Three people charged with involvment in the catamaran tragedy which resulted in the deaths of four Chinese tourists and five still missing, were ordered to enter their defence.

Sessions Court Judge Noor Hafizah Mohd Salim made the order against operator Leong Vin Jee, 44, his mother Chung Ket Siew @ Chung Siaw Ping, 64, whose name appears on the company licence and skipper Sharezza Salian, 26.

Noor Hafizah ruled that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against the trio who faced several charges against them, respectively.

The court set Aug 27-30 this year for the trio's defence.

However, the court discharged and acquitted (DNA) Chung from two charges against her.

On the first count, Chung, the Director of Syarikat Golden Sailing Travel Tour and Car Rental, was given DNA from the charge of causing hurt to 20 Chinese tourists by permitting Leong to manage and use the boat to sea so negligently as to endanger their lives.

While, Leong and Sharezza was ordered to enter their defence on the same charge under Section 337 of the Penal Code carries a jail term of up to six months, or fine of up to RM1,000, or both, on conviction.

For Leong's charge, he ordered Sharezza to take the boat to the sea and for Sharezza's charge – taking the boat to the sea negligently.


On the second count, Chung also was freed from the charge of negligently causing the death of four tourists – He Runyuan, 46, Wang Jianyi, 38, Xie Luo, 49, and Zhang Xiau Kun, 27 – by allowing Leong who had ordered Sharezza to use the boat and overloaded it which endangered human life.

But, Leong and Sharezza was ordered to enter their defence on the above charge which falls under Section 304A of the Penal Code which provides for a jail term of up to two years, or fine, or both, on conviction.

On the third count, Chung, as the registered owner of the boat, was ordered to enter his defence on a charge of having Sharezza as the skipper without altering and reporting the particulars of a skipper named Leong Vin Jee in the Sabah Small Ship Licence to the nearest licensing authority – Sabah Ports and Harbours Department.

The offence under Regulations 13 of the Ports and Harbours (Sabah Licensed Small Ships) 2008 is punishable under Regulations 21 of the same regulations which carries a jail term of up to two years, or a fine of up to RM500,000, or both, on conviction.

On the fourth count which Chung was jointly charged with Leong, they were ordered to enter their defence for failing to keep the boat licence on the passenger boat at all time.

The offence under Regulations 9 of the Ports and Harbours (Sabah Licensed Small Ships) 2008 is punishable under Regulation 21 of the same Regulations.

Meanwhile, Leong and Sharezza are accused of failing to equip the passenger boat with the appropriate safety equipment such as life jackets and life buoys as specified under the Fourth Schedule of the Ports and Harbours (Sabah Licenced Small Ships) Regulations 2008, at all time.


They allegedly committed the offence under Regulations 16/34 of the Ports and Harbours and punishable under Regulation 21 of the same Regulations which carries a jail term of up to two years, or a fine of up to RM500,000, or both, on conviction.

Leong and Sharezza were also jointly charged with embarking two crew and 28 passengers not at the designated landing point – Kg Tanjung Aru Lama Jetty, here and that the offence under Regulation 13/34 of the Ports and Harbours.

The passengers were Yan Yan Xin, 50, Fan Li Xia, 41 Yan Si Yie, 17, Shen Hao Tian, 17, Chen Yi, 48, Yang Yao Ru, 50, Wang Xian Zhong, 48, Cao Dong Yue, 26, Wie Yin, 31, Li Feng, 39, Chen Xin Jian, 24, He Hai Min, 29, He Zi Hao, 21, Guo Shun Ke, 49, Tan Ting, 30, Luo Guo Hong, 30, Zeng Chi Yuan, 55, Liu Jin Can, 31, Pa Liu Juan, 32, Liu Fei Tong, 32, Xie Luo, 48, He Runyuan, 46, Zhang Xiao Kun, 27, Wang Jianyi, 38, Shen Jiang Jian, 50, Dong Mei, 52, Liu Hong Yuan, 51,Yu Xuan Li, 10 and the crews were Aman Abdul, 38, Absoy Kasim, 26.

All the offences allegedly took place at the Golden Sailing Travel Tour and Car Rental Sdn Bhd premises in Asia City, here, Kg Tanjung Aru Lama Jetty, off the Coast of Mengalum Island, here between 9.15am and 11am on Jan 28, 2017.

Leong was also ordered to enter his defence on a charge of overloading the catamaran with tourists which endangered the passengers' lives while Sharezza had served the six months' jail sentence for overloading the catamaran with tourists.

The prosecution had closed its case on April 2 this year after calling 51 witnesses, including the Chinese tourists who survived during the hearing which began in August 2017.

The court was informed that about eight defence witnesses would be called.


Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Nartiah F. Mirchelle Sambatan, who was assisted by DPP Nurun Nazifah Muhammad Iyen from the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency, conducted the prosecution.

Counsel Michelle Usman and Benazir Japiril Bandaran represented Sharezza, counsel Edward Paul and Elffie Johny for Leong and his mother while counsel Chin Yuen Fong is holding a watching brief for the victims. - Cynthia D Baga

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