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Yesterday morning, I held a press conference at Parliament to defend the rights of Ma YanHong, a tourist from China, who was arrested by the police, put in police lock-up and treated with a lack of human dignity. All this despite her having the genuine legal visa and passport to be in Malaysia!

Here is MalaysiaKini’s video of our press conference.

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Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching, myself, Ma YanHong.

This is Ma’s official statement to the press:

Pada 10/12/2009 5 petang, saya dan kawan saya membeli-belah di Pusat Kompleks Sungei Wang hingga 10 malam. Selepas itu, kami makan malam di Jalan Alor. Selepas itu, pada pukul 11.30 malam kami pun masuk ke sebuah pub di Jalan Alor untuk terus berbual. Pada pukul lebih kurang 12.30 malam, polis masuk ke pub tersebut dan menangkap gambar, kemudian mereka periksa kad pengenalan dan dokumen setiap orang berada di dalam pub. Semua orang dari negara asing diminta tunggu dan orang tempatan diminta balik.  Saya dan kawan saya memberitahu seorang polis bahawa kami mempunyai visa dan paspot yang sah tetapi polis tidak mempedulikan kami. Polis terus ambil paspot kami pada pukul 3 pagi. Polis membawa kami bersama dengan orang negara asing ke Balai Polis Pudu. Kami dikurung di dalam lokap selama sejam. Selepas itu, kami dibawa ke Balai Polis Daerah Dang Wangi. Kami dimasukkan balik ke lokap sehingga pukul 8.30 pagi pada 11/12/2009.

Kemudian kami digari dan dibawa ke Balai Polis Bukit Jalil. Pada pukul 10 pagi kami diminta serah barangan kepunyaan kami kepada polis. Barangan saya termasuk: Jam tangan, Dua telefon bimbit, Cincin, Wang tunai RM330, Kunci rumah dan rantai sembahyang. Kemudian, kami diminta tukar pakaian banduan dan dimasukkan ke dalam lokap.

Pada 12/12/2009, semasa saya berada di lokap, saya ingin membuat panggilan kepada kawan saya. Seorang polis wanita setuju dan pinjam telefon bimbitnya kepada saya tetapi dengan syarat minta beli kad ‘top up’ sebanyak RM50 baginya. Dengan itu, saya pun menghubungi kawan saya dan menyuruh dia beli kad ‘top up’ sebanyak RM50 bagi polis wanita tersebut. Selepas berjaya menghubungi kawan saya, saya dikurung balik di dalam lokap.

Pada 13/12/2009, saya mengalami masalah haid dan memerlukan tisu khas perempuan. Saya beritahu seorang polis wanita tetapi setelah  menunggu selama sejam lebih permintaan saya masih tidak dipeduli oleh polis sehingga seluar saya dibasahi darah haid.

Pada 15/12/2009, lebih kurang jam 3 petang, saya dibebaskan oleh polis. Saya mendapati pakaian asal saya telah hilang dan zip beg saya dibuka. Polis memberi pakaian yang bukan milikan saya kepada saya. Bila saya semak beg saya, saya mendapati wang tunai dalam beg saya telah hilang sebanyak RM130. Saya terus tanya seorang pegawai polis kenapa ini berlaku tetapi polis kata dia tidak tahu hal tersebut. Pada pukul 4 petang, saya dibawa ke Balai Polis Daerah Dang Wangi. Saya dibawa memberi keterangan kepada Inspektor Ridzuan. Selepas itu, saya dibebaskan dan diminta untuk mengambil balik paspot saya pada hari keesokan di Balai Polis Daerah Dang Wangi.

Pada 16/12/2009, bila saya diberi balik paspot oleh pegawai polis tersebut, saya tanya tentang wang saya yang terhilang dan beliau terus memulangkan wang tunai RM130 daripada dompetnya kepada saya.

Apa yang terjadi pada saya pada beberapa hari yang lepas adalah satu pengalaman yang amat dahsyat pada saya. Ini adalah kali pertama saya melawat ke Malaysia, saya mempunyai pekerjaan yang tetap di Negeri China dan saya merasa amat kesal dan kecewa di mana saya dianggap sebagai GRO ataupun pelacur oleh pihak polis, dan saya juga merasa kesal kerana polis enggan mendengar penjelasan daripada saya dan kawan saya.

MA YANHONG

Ma came to Malaysia for holiday and to meet up with her friend. Last Thursday night, a week ago, she and her friend had gone to Sungai Wang for shopping, followed by Jalan Alor for supper, and then to a nearby pub for a drink.

After half an hour of them being in the pub, the police entered and checked everybody’s IC and documents. The locals were instructed to leave and all the foreigners were taken to the police lock-up. They were detained under Section 55 and 56 (1) I) Immigration Act and were to be remanded for 2 weeks, from 12 – 25 December 2009. Meanwhile, the police were waiting for Immigration Department to verify the authenticity of their documents.

After being detained for five days, she was finally released only because by chance, her friend knew me and asked for my help about this case. Knowing what happened, I intervened and also applied pressure on the CID Chief of Dang Wangi police station for information and update about this case.

I also contacted Datuk Markiman who is the PA to Home Minister Hishamuddin about this case. I told him that this is unfair. When the police conduct their raids and rope in all these foreigners, they catch many genuine tourists at the same time. In the case of Ma, there was no evidence, and no witness to say that Ma was a GRO or prostitute.

I asked him, can your imagine if your daughter, were to travel to china, was suspected to be a prostitute and detained by the police for 2 weeks…. when she is released and comes home, how would you react?

Finally, after exerting all this pressure on the police and the Home Ministry, Ma was released after being detained for 5 days and given back her passport.

I do not want this detention to happen again for genuine tourists so I persuaded Ma to hold a press conference. At first, she was very reluctant because she was worried that the police would further stop her from leaving the country and delay her onward trip onto Dubai for business for which she already had the flight ticket. I assured her that the police wouldn’t detain her any more and that no matter what, I would stand by her.

Furthermore, when she rang her office in China to let them know what happened, her office lawyer advised her not to lodge a police report so as not jeopardise her business in Dubai. So I really admire her courage in coming forward.

And so yesterday, we had the press conference at Parlimen.

I showed the press Ma’s business documents to the press to prove that that she has a proper profession, that she is a genuine insurance agent. She has her letter of appointment by her company, her business card and also she is one of the top insurance agents in her company.

By now, Ma would have flown onward to Dubai on her business trip and I hope she has left the country safely and that Malaysia’s image is not totally ruined after my attempts at rescueing her.

Tourism Minister Ng Yen Yen has been to China many times to promote Malaysia as a fantastic tourist destination. However, in this situation when Chinese tourists came to Malaysia, look at how the police have treated them. Like criminals! What a waste of Tourism Ministry’s efforts and imagine Malaysia’s image as the fantastic holiday destination being destroyed just like that.

I have realised that if person is detained under Penal Code, the detainee is entitled to make one phone call and the maximum detention is for 7 days.

However, in this situation, the police detained them for 14 days, and this is allowed under the Immigration Act.  This is determined by the police and not by court.

The Home Ministry and the police must reassess their standard operating procedure in conducting such raids and detaining foreigners without proof.

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