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News in brief: tourist deaths and falling crime rates

Thirty-nine individuals recognised with national awards for special achievement.



Chinese tourist dies in Fuvahmulah

A 25-year-old Chinese tourist who went diving near Fuvahmulah died on Monday morning.

The man was brought to the island’s hospital around 9am, the hospital manager told the media. According to police, he faced health complications after emerging from a diving excursion.

In late October, the foreign minister and Chinese ambassador co-chaired a meeting to discuss the safety of tourists from China, the largest inbound market for Maldives tourism. In the wake of a spate of tourist deaths by drowning earlier this year, the tourism ministry launched inspections of all tourist facilities and promised discussions with island councils to designate safe swimming areas.

Statistics show steady decline in crime

The number of cases logged by the Maldives Police Service declined from 18,192 in 2014 to 14,137 as of November 7, 2019, according to statistics posted by Police Commissioner Mohamed Hameed on Monday.

Violent crimes declined from 3,317 cases in 2014 to a six-year low of 2,546 cases this year. Gang violence fell from 269 cases in 2014 to 110 so far this year. There have been no gang-related murders in 2019 after 21 cases in the past five years. But two expatriates were killed in workplace disputes this year.

Police chief Hameed attributed the declining rates to “well-ordered and organised efforts” to keep the streets safe, and congratulated all police officers.

National Award for Special Achievement conferred to 39 individuals

At this year’s Republic Day function on Sunday night, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih handed out National Awards for Special Achievement to 39 individuals in recognition of their academic and professional successes.

The recipients included the gold medal-winning national football and table tennis teams, 32 individuals who achieved the highest rank in an academic or skill training course, six individuals who attained the highest rank in an international exhibition or competition and an individual who attained the highest academic qualification in the Maldives National Qualifications Framework.

Medals were also presented to 16 individuals who earned the title of hafiz for memorising the Holy Quran and 17 students who achieved top awards in the world in secondary and higher secondary education. A special plaque of recognition was awarded to two scouts, the President’s Scout Badge was presented to five scouts and six scouts were awarded the Baden Powell Badge.

Coastguard seizes Indian fishing boats

The coastguard seized two Indian-flagged fishing boats from Maldivian territorial waters on Monday morning.

The boats were found 29 nautical miles northwest of Thuraakunu, the northernmost island in the country. The coastguard escorted the vessels to be docked outside Uligan island in the northernmost atoll, according to the Maldives National Defence Force.

There were nine people on one boat and 10 people on the other, an MNDF official told the media.

Swedish tourist drowned after dinghy capsized

Screen grab from video of health workers trying to resuscitate drowned tourist

A Swedish tourist died on Sunday after a dinghy capsized near Kudahuvadhoo island in Dhaalu atoll.

The incident was reported around 4:22pm. Four Swedish tourists and two Maldivians on the dinghy were rescued at sea by a jet ski from Kudahuvadhoo and taken to the island’s hospital before the coastguard arrived. According to police, a large wave toppled the dinghy during a sports fishing trip when it went too close to the island’s reef.

Intoxicated man caught digging grave

Photo from Kulhudhuffushi Online

A 19-year-old man under the influence of drugs was arrested while digging a grave on Kulhudhuffushi island on Sunday evening.

The incident at the graveyard next to the northern island’s Kuda Miskiyy (small mosque) was reported around 6:30pm. Further details cannot be provided as the case is under investigation, police said.

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