AN IRISHMAN was attacked and killed by two dogs yesterday when he went to take a photograph during a trip to one of Malaysia's top tourist destinations.
The victim, who has been named as Maurice Sullivan (50) and is originally from Galway, had been visiting an organic farm on Penang Island along with a woman identified as his Polish girlfriend when he was savaged by the dogs.
Penang police chief Ayub Yaakob said the couple had ventured on to the organic farm to take photos of its orchard when Mr Sullivan was attacked.
"They went there by themselves to the orchard, the owner was not there," he added. "The girlfriend was some distance away when suddenly the dogs attacked the victim, one of them in particular was very fierce.
"The girlfriend called the villagers in the area for help, so they called the police but by the time they arrived he was not conscious. We are not sure whether he was already dead but he was sent to hospital and pronounced dead."
Reports suggested that the couple had stayed overnight at a nearby house and had been playing with four dogs belonging to the farm owner the previous day.
However, on the day of the attack, two of the animals had turned on Mr Sullivan.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said last night that it was aware of the tragedy and was offering consular assistance to the family of the victim.
The farm is located in Teluk Bahan which lies on the northwestern tip of Penang island, one of Malaysia's premier tourism destinations.
Senior Assistant Police Commissioner Kahruddin Abdullah last night told the Irish Independent that Mr Sullivan had been in the country about five months and had been working there. A post-mortem was due to be carried out today, he added.
The 'Star' newspaper reported that Mr Sullivan suffered multiple injuries and severe facial wounds in the vicious attack.
The farm owner, who wished to be identified only as Teoh, was reportedly surprised his dogs had attacked the man. "The couple was here (yesterday), and had gotten well-acquainted with the dogs since they arrived at the farm," he told reporters.
He said when he and his wife found out that Mr Sullivan had been attacked, it was already too late.
He said his two dogs would be surrendered to the authorities for further action.