Police have confirmed that the body of a Korean tourist reported missing yesterday (December 17) from Meedhuhparu resort in Raa Atoll has been discovered today in a joint operation conducted with staff at the property and a Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) dive team.
Authorities have said that the body of the deceased, identified as 32 year-old Korean national Dohwan Oh, has been transported to Male’ and is now awaiting repatriation.
In a statement issued today, the Maldives Police Service has said that the deceased was discovered 20 metres underwater in the area where he was first reported missing following a snorkelling excursion with his wife.
Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef could not confirm when exactly the body would be repatriated at the time of press.
Addressing the growing influx of tourists from Asian destinations coming to the Maldives, Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Gafoor today pledged in local media to enforce stricter safety measures across the industry to try and cut down potential snorkelling incidents.
Adheeb stated that the industry must evolve and adapt to the changing market geared increasingly towards Asian visitors who were generally not as adept at swimming as tourists from more established markets. According to the tourism minister, this evolution includes increasing ocean awareness for tourists while monitoring and strengthening existing regulations.
“If such incidents keep repeating it is a major concern. It will adversely affect our tourism. We need to change the services being provided with the market,” Adheeb told local media.
Missing Chinese national
Meanwhile, Police Spokesperson Haneef said today he was unable to comment over whether the case of another tourist who went missing from the Bandos Island Resort and Spa earlier this month – initially suspected to be a snorkelling incident – was presently being treated as a criminal investigation.
Immigration authorities confirmed Saturday (december 15) that a Chinese national allegedly linked to the disappearance of a tourist staying at a Maldives holiday resort had fled the country, defying a court-mandated travel ban issued Wednesday (December 12).
Local media had previously reported that the husband of Chinese tourist Song Yapin,who went missing from the Bandos Island Resort and Spa on December 6, had accused a fellow Chinese national staying at the property of murdering his wife.
Haneef said that as police investigations were ongoing into the incident, no details on the nature of its work could be given at present.
The MNDF confirmed on Saturday that the search to locate the missing Chinese national was continuing. However, MNDF Spokesperson Colonel Abdul Raheem said that the country’s coastguard had presently ceased sending out dive teams to explore local waters.
“We will not be calling off our operation until the person is found, but we will be amending our operation on a daily basis,” Colonel Raheem said at the time.