Man held over woman's death in blaze

Kota Kinabalu - Police in the east coast Sandakan district have detained a 23-year-old man to assist them in their probe into the death of a woman killed in a blaze that gutted a house four days ago.

The man was held at about noon yesterday while the woman's children, aged seven and eight, were found safe in a hotel room some 4km from downtown Sandakan at about the same time.

It is believed that the 23-year-old man was a family friend of the dead woman, whose remains were found in one of the bedrooms of the terrace house.

Although the dead woman's identity has not been disclosed yet, neighbours at Taman Indah Jaya said the burnt house had been occupied by one Hasna Astan, 42, who was working with the Sabah Forestry Department.

The neighbours said Hasna was a divorcee with two children, whose whereabouts were unknown after the fire broke out in the house at about 8pm on Friday.