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Tuesday January 22, 2008

Sunda princesses freed

MYT 6:47:35 PM

MIRI: The Sessions Court threw out four of the six charges brought by the Sarawak Immigration Department against each of the two women who claimed to be "princesses of the Sunda Empire." 

Judge Timothy Finlayson Joel on Tuesday acquitted and discharged Puteri Lamia Roro Wiranata, 21, and Puteri Fathia Reza, 23, on two charges each for illegally entering Sarawak between July 13 and July 22, last year, through the Sungai Tujuh Immigration Complex at the Malaysia-Brunei border near here. 

The judge also acquitted and discharged the duo on two charges each of having used fake documents to enter Sarawak. 

However, he ordered the two women to enter their defence on two other charges each of having illegally stayed in Miri from July 8 to July 11 last year because their travel documents had not been endorsed by any valid authority. 

The duo, represented by counsel Shankar Ram and Keith Liew, would have their defence heard on Feb 28. 

On July 13 last year, State Immigration Department enforcement officers arrested Lamia and Fathia when they were found loitering at a buffer zone between the Sarawak Immigration Complex exit gate and the Brunei Immigration entry point. 

The duo had claimed that Brunei Immigration Department officers, who arrested them while they were on a tour of the sultanate, dumped them at the buffer zone. 

The two women said they were princesses and military generals of the Sunda Empire. 

They claimed that their parents, the King and Queen of the empire, were ruling in exile from Switzerland. 

Sunda was an ancient empire located within the Indonesian archipelago. That empire is now part of modern-day Indonesia, but the women claim that their families are still the legitimate rulers of the empire.

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