Tham Yau Kong honoured by Australia for death march work

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah adventure tour guide Tham Yau Kong,  has been awarded an honorary Medal of the Order of Australia for his work in keeping alive the memory of the sacrifice of Australian prisoners of war who died during the Sandakan-Ranau death march.

Tham has led politicians including Australia former  prime minister Scott Morrison, diplomats and veterans along the death march trail, self-funded a rediscovery trek of the route, established memorials, and created programmes to bring the story to a wider audience.

His dedication and passion have earned him numerous accolades and the respect of many including  an MBE from UK early 2023 for his work in raising historical awareness.

The Sandakan Death marches were a series of forced marches from Sandakan to Ranau that resulted in the deaths of 2,434 Allied POWs held captive by Japan during the Pacific campaign towards the end of World War II in 1945 at the Sandakan POW camp, North Borneo.

Of the 2,434 POWs involved in the forced marches, only six men survived, having escaped with the help from locals.

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