Police took 12 witness statements, including other pageant contestants, in Sabah politician molest probe

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Philip Among (left) with lawyer Marcel Jude Joseph. — Picture by Julia Chan
Philip Among (left) with lawyer Marcel Jude Joseph. — Picture by Julia Chan

KOTA KINABALU, June 8 — Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hazani Ghazali said police here have completed investigations into the sexual assault allegations by a native beauty pageant contestant against an organiser and politician.

In the investigation, 12 people were called in for questioning, including other contestants, and an Australian national, Dane Kovacs, an employee of the politician Philip Among, who headed his production team for the pageant.

“We will be submitting the investigation papers to the attorney general’s office tomorrow for further instructions,” he said when contacted today.

Among, 52, the former parliamentary coordinator for the Putatan division for Parti Solidarity Tanah Airku until he was suspended last week, is now facing a possible criminal charge for his actions.

His lawyer, Marcel Jude Joseph when contacted, said he was not aware if any charges will be brought forward.

On May 19, a beauty contestant alleged he had groped her in his car and office after a photo shoot at a bridal studio. The allegations were made in a police report on May 21 and subsequently caused a storm of controversy in the state where the Unduk Ngadau is a popular and cherished cultural event.

A security officer for the pageant also made a report alleging abuse by the politician.

Subsequently, Kovacs, who was employed by Among for some two months, came forward and made his own police report, alleging Among had behaved inappropriately during the shoot and throughout his employment.

Kovacs also complained that Among had withheld his passport, with the promise of renewing his expired work visa, as well as salary for the last month of work.

Among was arrested on June 3 and has been in police custody to facilitate investigations since then. His remand is due to end tomorrow, June 9.

He was being investigated under Section 354 of the Penal Code for using criminal force to outrage modesty. If guilty, the penalty carries a maximum jail term of 10 year or fine or whipping.

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