Vietnamese tourist illegally held for 6 days at Malaysian airport: embassy

Thanh Nien News

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A Malaysian immigration officer checks papers of foreign passengers in Kuala Lumpur. Photo credit: Reuters A Malaysian immigration officer checks papers of foreign passengers in Kuala Lumpur. Photo credit: Reuters


The Embassy of Vietnam in Kuala Lumpur has sent a diplomatic note to Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to oppose the recent illegal detention of a Vietnamese tourist, a newspaper reported.
The note said Malaysian authorities had wrongfully arrested the Vietnamese citizen and held her for six days inside an airport without sufficiently informing diplomatic agencies, Tuoi Tre quoted the embassy's spokesperson To Thi Huong as saying.
This is not in compliance with the 1963 Vienna convention on diplomatic relations, she said.
The embassy also complained that Malaysian authorities had handcuffed the tourist even without evidence of her committing any crime.
This arrest could damage the image of Malaysia among Vietnamese tourists, the embassy said.
According to Tuoi Tre, the Vietnamese tourist, identified only as T, has been given a week off from her position at the Party unit of Ho Chi Minh City's District 12 to recover from the incident.
The unit's spokesperson, Le Van Cuong, said she joined a trip to Singapore and Malaysia from July 18-23, which was organized by Saigontourist for 61 Party staffers of the district. 
On July 23, when she was about to leave Malaysia with the group, T was held at Kuala Lumpur International Airport after immigration officers suspected that the entry stamp on her passport was fake.
Her office in HCMC was notified of the arrest. They sent an email to the Vietnamese Embassy in Malaysia on July 25 to ask for help. 
The embassy said it only received the information on July 27.
“Embassy staffers went to the airport on July 27 and she returned to Vietnam on July 28. She cried a lot when seeing her family and colleagues at Tan Son Nhat Airport,” Cuong said.
He said that, during the six days, T was given food but she could not eat much and that the facilities "did not satisfy basic demands."
Huong of the Vietnamese Embassy said her agency sent representatives to the Malaysian Immigration Department on July 27. However, they were only allowed to meet T the following day.
The department then said that it finished verifying the entry stamp and found that it was real, but did not issue any apology, she said.
The Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has pledged to work with the Department of Immigration on the case.

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