Chinese tourists, scuba diver killed by fish bombs in Semporna

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SEMPORNA (July 5): Two foreign tourists and a local scuba diver were believed to be killed by fish bombs while diving in waters off Pulau Kalapuan near here today.

The incident was believed to have occurred at about 5.50 pm.

Semporna Tourism Association chairman Jamilah Ang Kher Lern, when contacted, confirmed the  incident.

Semporna district police chief Supt Sabarudin Rahmat said details on the incident would be released later.

In KOTA KINABALU, State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew said the two tourists killed in the incident were from China.

"We have informed The Consul General of China in Kota Kinabalu and the Sabah Chief Minister about this tragic event. Our Sabah Tourism Board officers are on standby to monitor the situation," she said in a statement, here.

She added that the incident occurred outside the vicinity of the Tun Sakaran Marine Parks.

Liew also urged The Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM), Marine Police and Fisheries Department to take a serious stand against fish bombing.

Meanwhile, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi strongly condemned the fish bombing activities carried out by some fishermen and individuals in the country’s territorial waters.

He said such act not only affected the eco-system, but also endangered the lives of divers.

He said this in response to an incident where two tourists from China and a local diver were killed, believed to be due to fish bombing, while diving in waters near Pulau Bum-Bum, Semporna, near here today .

“I express my condolences to the families of the victims,” he said in a statement issued today.

Mohammaddin said he was waiting for a report on the incident from the police and that measures would be taken to ensure the safety of tourists and locals while diving in the area.

He called for the cooperation of the local authorities to look into the matter.

Fish bombing should be stopped before more people are killed, he said.