Four dead after illegal retaining wall at Penang hotel collapses

Fire and Rescue Department personnel search for victims of a landslide in Tanjung Bungah, George Town June 25, 2019. — Picture courtesy of the Penang police
Fire and Rescue Department personnel search for victims of a landslide in Tanjung Bungah, George Town June 25, 2019. — Picture courtesy of the Penang police

GEORGE TOWN, June 26 — Four Myanmar workers were killed after the retaining wall they were constructing at the Lost Paradise Hotel in Batu Ferringhi, Penang collapsed at about 9.25pm yesterday.

A search and rescue operation involving the police, Fire and Rescue Department and Civil Defence Department, was called off at about 4.45am today after the bodies of all four victims were recovered from the rubble.

Two workers have been identified as Ong and Nai Cho In while the names of the other two remain unknown.

Northeast District Police Chief Assistant Commissioner Che Zaimani Che Awang said the four workers were constructing a retaining wall on the slope in the hotel grounds.

He said the gardener, working in the hotel, claimed one of the victims, Ong, has been working as a maintenance worker around the hotel for about three years.

“Ong was given a project to build the retaining wall and he had asked three of his friends to help him with the project,” he said.

He said the resort owner, who is also a doctor, claimed the four Myanmar nationals had offered to build the retaining wall at the resort.

“He said Ong had agreed to build the wall at a price of RM400 per day for labour costs and that he had 20 days to complete the works,” he said.

The owner also claimed that he does not know the other three Myanmar workers who were Ong’s friends.

It was believed that the workers had been working on the retaining wall for about a week.

In an immediate response, Penang Island City Council issued a statement to confirm that the construction work on the retaining wall was illegal.

“The illegal retaining wall works were conducted below the road surface of Jalan Batu Ferringhi and could not be seen from the road,” it said.

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