Tuesday, July 14

Manhunt for suspects over fish bombing deaths



KOTA KINABALU: Police are trying to identify the fishermen who were allegedly responsible for the death of a dive master and two Chinese tourists when they were believed killed by fish bombs while scuba-diving at Kulapuan Island in Semporna on Friday.

State Commissioner of Police Datuk Omar Mammah said the Marine Operation Force (MOF) were currently investigating the case as well as trying to identify the fishermen believed responsible for the incident.

“We have launched a manhunt for those responsible and we urge anyone with vital information to come forward,” he said.

Local dive master Ab Zainal Abdu, 30, as well as Chinese nationals Zhao Zhong, and Xu Yingjie, both 26, were killed after they were believed hit by fish bombs while scuba-diving at Kulapuan Island in Semporna on July 5.

It is learned that the victims were dropped off by their boatman at a dive site at Kulapuan Island in Semporna around 2.30pm.

An hour later, the boatman and the boat guide returned to the dive site only to find sea foam around the area while the divers were no where to be found. The boatman immediately radioed divers for help.

Several professional divers immediately came to their aid and launched a search operation.

The bodies of Ab Zainal, Zhao Zhong and Xu Yingjie were recovered by divers at a depth of 5.8 metres by 4.50pm.

It was learned that most of their dive equipment were damaged, while several nearby corals were also destroyed believed due to a fish bomb blast.

Meanwhile, Omar said the 24-year-old boatman and the 23-year-old boat guide had been detained by police to assist in their investigation.