'Nothing suspicious' about death of Hong Kong businessman in Malaysia

Police in Sabah have found nothing suspicious about the death of Kee Kwok Edien, whose taxi collided with another vehicle as he was delivering a ransom for a kidnapped employee

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 July, 2014, 6:53pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 July, 2014, 7:29pm

Malaysian police say they have found nothing suspicious about Saturday's car crash in the east of the country that killed a Hong Kong businessman on his way to negotiate for the release of a kidnapped employee.

Malaysian and Hong Kong media reported that Kee Kwok Edien, 63, was killed when the taxi he was travelling in collided head-on with a car in the town of Sandakan in Sabah, an eastern state on the island of Borneo.

The three occupants of the other car are still in hospital, according to police in Sandakan. The driver is believed to be male and two other passengers female.

Kee reportedly owned the company Wonderful Terrace, which has a fish farm in Sabah. Members of Kee's staff - Jaafar Kassim, 40 and Pedro Pajimola, 36 - and taxi driver Salah Ibno, 64, were also killed in the crash.

Ming Pao reported that Kee was carrying HK$1 million in ransom money for the release of his employee, 34-year-old Yang Zailin, who was kidnapped by suspected Filipino rebels in May.

Yang is believed to be the manager of the fish farm.

"I don't think it's suspicious, but the investigation is ongoing," a police officer in Sandakan told the Post. He said the amount of money that Kee was carrying was not HK$1 million, but did not reveal the exact amount. But he said the money had already been given back to Kee's family.

Hong Kong Immigration Department officers have accompanied members of Kee's family to Sabah. A department spokesman said it had been in contact with the Commissioner's Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong, and with the Chinese consulate in Kuching, Malaysia.

Phone calls to the consulate went unanswered yesterday.

In May, Yang was kidnapped by suspected Filipino rebels armed with M16 rifles. Security forces exchanged gunfire with the kidnappers, according to Mohammed Mentek, director general of security forces in Sabah.

"We exchanged gunfire. But the criminals from the southern Philippines managed to escape [in a boat] into international waters," Mentek said at the time.

Yang's case was the second abduction of a Chinese national in a five-week period in Borneo. A Chinese tourist and a hotel worker were kidnapped from a dive resort in April. They were rescued two months later. It came amid tensions between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing over missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.