A French court has ordered a total of 1.489 million US dollars to be paid to three of the 21 people who were kidnapped from Sipadan six years ago.

The order was made against Paris-based tour agent Ultramarina, which handled the tour for the three, for failing in its duty to monitor the risks in the region.

It said the company should also have realised that Western tourists would act as a magnet for a kidnap case.

The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office are currently advising: “Terrorists and criminal elements are continuing with plans to kidnap foreign tourists from the islands and coastal areas of Eastern Sabah. Boats travelling to and from offshore islands and dive sites are possible targets. If you wish to visit resorts on, and islands off, Eastern Sabah, you should exercise extreme caution.” The Australian government offers similar warnings.

The Sabah Tourism Board, however, offer reassurances “Sabah is a safe destination to travel to and we wish to assure that the Malaysian Government takes security and health issues very seriously and will continue to ensure that all Malaysians and visitors alike are safe and well while on holiday in the country.“.

This has been a bad couple of months for the Sabah Tourism Board as in May a barge seriously damaged an area of coral of this famous diving spot.

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