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Poser over American family with no entry stamp
Published on: Friday, January 10, 2020
By: Neil Chan
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KOTA KINABALU: Deputy Chief Minster cum Tourism Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew (pic) confirmed that three Americans were detained by Tawau Immigration officers recently for alleged passport irregularities. 

“I spoke with the Director who confirmed that three ‘Americans’ were found with their US passports not having any chops.

“I was informed that the group (comprising a man with two children, a girl and boy) arrived from Indonesia by boat. Upon arrival at Tawau port, the Tawau Immigration officers found their US passports to be new with no immigration chops.

“According to the Director, if they come like that then they are deemed to have breached the State’s immigration law, so necessary steps need to be taken such as detaining their passports and investigation on their backgrounds including how came to Tawau by boat and where have they been and why were their passport so new. They are now investigating the matter,” she said.

Liew said once the investigations are completed and if they don’t find anything wrong then they would do whatever is necessary such as compounding.

Their excuse was they lost their (original) passports, so its up to the authorities to check. 

The American Embassy in Kuala Lumpur has been informed. Meanwhile Liew reiterated the need for a new airport for the State. 

“We need a new airport in the State that has international and domestic arrival counters and not like in the current Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

“Our Chief Minister said we need such an airport because our tourism grows so fast, but we also have leaders from KL who said no need. However it really a need for the State as our tourism is doing well but (the infrastructure) is insufficient. So we really hope that a new airport will come soon.” 

She said with the poor outlook expected for 2020, due to the current global tension  between US and Iran, her ministry may have to have some kind of new strategies for tourism (for the state). 

“The challenge is how to convince tourists that its OK to travel as people may feel the tension and may not want to travel, but we will do our best.

“My officers informed me they believed last year we can exceed 4 million target (tourist arrivals) but the total target will only come out end of this month or next month. 

“This year we will also explore new market areas and cannot rely only on old areas. We will also produce more tourism destinations (in the state).”


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