News of Malaysian's death in China tugboat tragedy reached family late

News of Malaysian's death in China tugboat tragedy reached family late

SEREMBAN - The family of the 55-year-old who died in a tugboat mishap in China 10 days ago are upset, saying it took Cheong Kin Chin's employers more than two days to notify them of the tragedy.

Cheong, a technical executive with a Singapore-based company, was among 22 people who lost their lives when the tugboat sank in the Yangtze River.

His sister, who only wanted to be known as Madam Yang, said the family saw the news of the tugboat sinking on television but had no knowledge that Cheong was one of the victims.

"We were a bit worried as he was in China but we didn't know he was the sole Malaysian who died in the tragedy.

"And when we finally got the news, we were shocked beyond words," she said during the wake.

Cheong's brother-in-law Yang Peng Seng, 61, said the remains were brought to a Taoist temple near here late Friday as soon as it arrived from China.

"He will be cremated on Sunday (today)," he said.

Peng Seng said the last the family met Cheong was during the Chinese New Year and Qing Ming about a year ago.

"He doesn't come back often but when he does, he stays for a while," he said, adding that Cheong was a bachelor.

Cheong, he said, had lived in China for the past five years.

"He occasionally kept in touch with us and a sister who is based in London," he said, adding that the victim was the youngest of four siblings.

It was reported that 25 people were onboard the vessel, conducting tests, when it sank in the Fubei Channel near Jingjiang city.

Eight of them were foreigners - Cheong, four Singaporeans, an Indonesian, a Japanese and an Indian.

Three people, all Chinese nationals, were rescued.

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