Friday, October 26, 2012

Deported Malaysian demands apology

VIDEO INSIDE: Hooi Mei Then was denied entry into Taiwan because she was accused of being a human trafficker, a charge that puzzles her.
A clerk who has no criminal record was shocked to learn that she was denied entry into Taiwan when she went there for a trip a few weeks ago. Hooi Mei Theng, 28, was barred by the Taiwanese immigration officers upon arriving there on Oct 7 as she was accused of being a human trafficker. Having been detained and deported by the Taiwanese authorities, she felt humiliated and demanded an apology from them.
DAP Segambut parliamentarian Lim Lip Eng, DAP lawyer Eric Tan and Hooi related the incident to the media after meeting the secretary of the Taipei Economic and Culture Office here this morning.
Hooi was on her maiden seven-day trip to Taiwan with her husband and a friend, and arrived at the Taoyuan International Airport at around 10.40pm. While her husband and friend passed through immigration without any problems, she was however stopped and accused of committing a human trafficking offence in Taiwan in March 2009.
“They claimed that I was on their blacklist and they have banned me for 10 years starting 2009. I asked for clarifications but they only showed a paper that had my name, identification card number, passport number and the accusation that I brought illegal immigrants into Taiwan before,” she claimed.
She was subsequently detained overnight by Taiwan’s immigration authorities and deported back to Malaysia on Oct 8. Puzzled by the deportation, Hooi said she had never faced this kind of situation before when visiting China in April this year, and Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia earlier.
“I have never lost my identification card or passport. I am completely clueless why this happened,” she added.
Hooi later brought her case to the Bukit Aman police headquarters, Malaysian immigration department and Foreign Ministry. She was certified with a letter of good conduct by the ministry on Oct 16.
“I want them [the Taiwanese authorities] to apologise and compensate the RM7,000 hotel fees and other expenses I have paid upfront for the trip,” she said.
A different version
Lim said the Taiwanese embassy’s secretary told them a different story during a meeting.
“He said it was not accurate to say she committed the offence in Taiwan. The Taiwanese authorities only got the information from an international network against human traffickers which they are a member of.
“He said the reason that Hooi was still allowed to enter a few countries was that those nations are not members of the network,” the MP said.
Lim also criticised the secretary’s arrogance for allegedly refusing to reconsider the ban, saying that Taiwan “can afford to lose a tourist like Hooi”. He said such a statement was uncalled for as Malaysians would generally choose developed nations such as the United States or Japan if they were to work illegally.
“If we go Taiwan, the sole purpose is only to spend, not to work illegally,” he said.
He added that the Malaysian’s police assistance was much needed to further pursue the case to clear Hooi’s name.

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