Immigration explains latest Chinese tourists incident
Published on: Thursday, January 09, 2020
By: Stefyanie Myla Micheal
KOTA KINABALU: The latest in a series of incidents of China tourists not having the entry stamp on their passports was due to them not going through Immigration checks before boarding their domestic flight to Tawau in the belief they can get it stamped over there.
Sabah Immigration Director Datuk Dr Muhamad Sade Mohamad Amin (pic), who explained the confusion, also said the three tourists were not detained but presented themselves at the Tawau immigration office and lodged a report.
“They failed to report to the immigration officer upon their arrival on Jan. 1, 2020, an offence under Section 24 (2) (a) of the Immigration Act 1959/63.
“The department completed its investigation and recommended to the Deputy Public Prosecutor that all three be compounded and expelled,” he said.
Muhamad Sade said the Department has also briefed the matter to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
“We have explained the steps taken to ensure such things are avoided in future,” he said.
“The three consisting of two men and one woman entered the State by AirAsia from Hong Kong at 10.05am and arrived at Kota Kinabalu at 1.10pm on Jan. 1, 2020 before they went on another flight at 4pm and arrived at Tawau at 4.55 pm the same day,” he said in a statement, Wednesday.
All three went to the Tawau Immigration Office after realising they didn’t go through Immigration checks at KKIA.
“Early investigations by the Tawau Immigration Office found the three passports submitted were not endorsed.
“As a result they left for Tawau without going through Immigration and travelled to Semporna with the intention of scuba diving for four days until Jan. 6, 2020.
“Further investigation found the trio visited Kota Kinabalu several times before and this is their first time to Semporna via Tawau,” he said.
He said the department has also heeded the advice of the CM to improve service at all airports in the State in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2020.
Last December, four Chinese tourists spent 18 days at the Tawau detention centre for lacking the entry stamp. They came from Shanghai to Kota Kinabalu at 6.15am on Dec. 4, 2019 and subsequently, took another flight at 7.40am the same day and arrived at Tawau at 8.25am.
However, it was reported that they failed to report themselves at any immigration counter, especially the transit counter at KKIA to obtain the “Immigration Entry Stamp” or “Endorsement” upon arrival.
They were detained on Dec. 10 when returning to Shanghai via Tawau International Airport. Their passports did not have any immigration stamp to denote their arrival in Sabah on Dec. 4.
In December 2018, four Chinese tourists, including a pregnant woman, ended up in the Manggatal detention centre for illegal immigrants for the same reason. China’s Consul-General in Kota Kinabalu, who also intervened in that case, complained that this had happened several times previously.
The Consulate office said there had been 20 such cases since last year and wondered if there was deliberate targeting of China tourists despite helping the Sabah economy as Japanese and Indonesian tourists facing similar problem were not sent to detention centres but let off with a compound.
Daily Express learnt that in the December 2018 incident, several Immigration officials were transferred when it was found out that they were not manning the counters when the planeload of visitors from China arrived. Only a few counters were manned.