French tourist missing off Malaysia resort island of Tioman

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - The Malaysian authorities on Wednesday were searching for a French tourist who went missing on the same resort island where a British tourist was found dead in June.

The Frenchman disappeared while snorkeling with three other people Tuesday off Tioman island, said Mr Zakaria Ahmad, a local police official. "We launched a search and rescue operation," Mr Zakaria told AFP by phone, adding he had no further details on the missing man.

Tioman is popular for its snorkeling and scuba diving, idyllic beaches and jungle-covered hills, but has seen a string of tragedies lately.

British tourist Gareth Huntley was found dead in June on the island, several days after he went missing on a jungle hike.

The Malaysian authorities have yet to explain the circumstances of his death, saying they were still awaiting autopsy reports.

In July, a court sentenced a Malaysian shopkeeper to death for killing French tourist Stephanie Foray on the island in 2011.

Violent crime against tourists and expats is generally rare in the Muslim-majority South-east Asian country.