Two Singaporean men were allegedly involved in the illegal dumping of toxic waste into Sungai Kim Kim — an incident that has afflicted thousands of victims in the industrial town of Pasir Gudang in the neighboring Malaysian state of Johor.
One was charged yesterday, while the other remains on the run.
The Star reported that 34-year-old Singaporean Wang Jin Chao and 36-year-old Malaysian Yap Yoke Liang — both directors of a used tire-processing company — were charged in the Sessions Court in Johor Baru for their alleged involvement in the dumping of chemicals.
A second Malaysian, 35-year-old lorry driver N. Maridass, was accused of illegally disposing chemicals into the river on March 7. Both Wang and Yap are accused of conspiring with the driver.
All three pleaded not guilty, and according to The Star, they are set to face further charges under Malaysia’s Environment Quality Act 1974. Wang was denied bail.
The wanted Singaporean
Meanwhile, Johor police are on the hunt for a second Singaporean company director believed to have been involved in the toxic waste disposal in Pasir Gudang, Malay Mail reported.
It is believed that the man is also a fellow director at the same used tire-processing company.
“The Singaporean man has been identified as a 30-year-old company director and we are awaiting feedback from our Singaporean counterparts,” said Johor police chief Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd during a press conference yesterday.
In response, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) confirmed in a statement that it had been in touch with their Malaysian counterparts.
“The Singapore Police Force is in touch with the Royal Malaysia Police, and are awaiting the latter’s official request for assistance. We are unable to comment further as investigations by the Malaysian authorities are ongoing,” noted SPF.
Authorities believe that a lorry dumped the waste in the river earlier this month, sending hazardous fumes into a wide-ranging area surrounding the site. Those suffering from the toxic wafts of air have reported nausea and vomiting.
So far, the incident affected about 4,000 families in Pasir Gudang, leaving nearly a 1,000 people in hospitals. All 111 schools in the area have been closed, but they should be reopening on March 31.