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Sabahan Diver Arrested For Allegedly Kissing Chinese Tourist Underwater

Sabahan Diver Arrested For Allegedly Kissing Chinese Tourist Underwater

The divemaster was said to have kissed her cheeks underwater without her permission while they were diving in Semporna.

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Recently, a female tourist from China lodged a police report saying that she was harassed by a freelance divemaster last Friday (5 May) in Semporna, Sabah.

While scuba diving at Mataking Island, the male scuba diver kissed the 25-year-old woman on the cheeks while underwater. It was revealed later that the woman did not even request the kiss, making it a case of potential molestation.

(Credit: Sound of Sabah / Facebook)

The clip that captured the scene went viral on social media, along with other proof allegedly blaming the divemaster.

Even after the dive, he still messaged her with inappropriate texts, making her uncomfortable. According to the texts, the man wanted to spend more time with her, offered to rent a car to pick her up, and wanted to hold as well as kiss her hand.

Chats from the victim’s phone.
(Credit: Sound of Sabah / Facebook)

Not only that but according to the post that went viral on Facebook, the victim also wrote an explainer of her situation that happened in Semporna. She said that the man asked for her address, wanted to spend the night with her and asked her to lie to his diving company, saying she asked for the kiss.

The translated version of the note the victim made to explain her accusation.
(Credit: Sound of Sabah / Facebook)

Because she was on a group tour and their flight back to China was the day after, the victim hurriedly made a report at the Semporna District Police Headquarters on May 6 before jumping on a plane in Tawau and flying off to her country.

(Credit: Sound of Sabah / Facebook)

However, in another chat screenshot from the diver’s phone, the victim denied making the report and is believed to say that she liked how it felt. Whether that’s her way of defending herself or not, police are still investigating the matter at hand.

Chats from the victim’s phone (left). Original note made by the victim, in Chinese (middle). Chat from the suspect’s phone (right).
(Credit: Sound of Sabah / Facebook)

The suspect is caught & brought in for questioning

According to NST, Acting District Police Chief Assistant Superintendent Arif Abdul Razak said the suspect is a 27-year-old local who works as a freelance divemaster at a dive centre there. He was arrested on May 7 at about 12.50 am in Semporna.

The case was being investigated under Section 354 of the Penal Code for assault or use of criminal force on a person with the intent to outrage modesty.

Arif also added that police obtained a remand order to detain the man until May 11 to facilitate investigations.

Sabah Minister warns all dive operators to respect tourists

Following the incident, Sabah State Minister, Datuk Christina Liew said in a statement that Sabah’s dive operators must avoid behaviours that offend tourists to protect the reputation of the state’s tourism industry.

Liew, who is the state tourism, culture and environment minister, further said that the ministry was shocked to learn about the sexual assault incident.

“Incidents like this greatly affect the tourism image in Semporna and Sabah, especially when the tourism industry is trying to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The ministry deeply regrets this incident and calls on all tourism operators in the state to play their role in providing quality and responsible services,” said Liew.

However, she said that the incident took place outside of the areas of Pulau Sipadan Island Park and Tun Sakaran Marine Park under the management of Sabah Parks. The area is apparently a privately owned island.

On a separate note, Sabah Dive Squad Club leader Sim Fui also responded to the incident and called for a code of ethics course for all divemasters, as reported by The Vibes.

“By reminding dive instructors and divemasters of the code of ethics, we can protect the reputation of our industry and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all,” he said.

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