Stephen Tann

Stephen Tann, a Teo Chiew married to Mary Rose Wong a Hakka, first worked as a customs clerk in Sandakan and later was transferred  to Tawau around 1911. The Tanns first lived with Mr. John Wong at the government quarters. Soon he resigned from government service and bought 175 acres of land at Pasir Puteh where he planted coconuts and rubber. He also ran a liquor store from his home at Sin On and owned the water supply distribution since 1913. Speaking English and a prominent businessman in town he was the unofficial Chinese community leader. 

Stephen Tanís gravestone at Bukit Lalang mile 7 from the junction of Apas and Tinagat roads.

史帝文陳高西 華人甲必丹
Stephen Tann Kau Sai Ė Chinese Kapitan

During the early Japanese occupation , Stephen Tan was accorded " Kapitan Cina " for his ability to act as a channel of communication with the Chinese. In early 1943, he was suspected to be involved in a secret Chinese patriotic society. He and seven other men and one woman were arrested and eventually executed in July 1944 on a hill some 7 mile from the junction of Apas and Tinagat roads. The Tinagat Chinese named that place as " massacre hill ".
In memory of Stephen Tan on his sacrifice and contribution to the local community, the 3rd street in Tawau town was named after him.
Articles organize & translate by : Mr. Justin Siaw Yun Kui


OKK Abu Bakar 是当时受尊敬的人物,他的华人姓名為紀金水,他的后代包括现今的巫統州议员道菲.丁汀岸。也是现时沙巴州中一名助理部長。

中国"Kapitan"陈-斯蒂芬,所谓《中国"Kapitan》即是KMC,ketua masyarakat cina 的意思,即《华人社会领袖》,本地人稱為《甲必丹》。


Chinese Kapitan of Tawau - Mr. Stephen Tann

Memorial ground of Stephen Tann and Mary Rose Wong in Tawau (2017)
坐落在斗湖 Kg. Pasir Putih
(靠近斗湖 Pasir Putih 中學)
Kapitan Stephen Tann kau Sai Memorial at Kg. Pasir Putih Tawau.
(near SMK Pasir Putih Tawau)


外孫女 granddaughter Janet Villegas and family (December 2013)


Stephen Tann's daughter (May 2014)


Bryan Paul Lai published a photo book on Tawau.

Rosario Vellegas is Stephen Tann's son in law.

Stephen Tann is the maternal-grandfather of Janet Villegas and Leticia Villegas and Vincent Villegas