Indon cops detain two Malaysian journalists over visas

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 08 Jun 2003

BANDA ACEH: Two Malaysian journalists – Shamsul Akmar and Abdul Razak Ahmad – covering the Aceh conflict were detained for questioning by the Indonesian police here yesterday. 

Shamsul, who is New Straits Times assistant political editor, and staff correspondent Abdul Razak were held at the Aceh police headquarters for several hours. 

Just before midnight, both were released but their passports were withheld by the police. 

They have been told that their passports will be given back to them when they leave Aceh on their flight back to Kuala Lumpur via Jakarta today. 

Both of them had been staying at Hotel Kuala Tripa when the police went looking for them there at 9.30pm on Friday. 

The police asked them to produce their passports and gave them an option to go the police station immediately or the following morning.  

When they opted to report at the station the next morning, their Malaysian passports were taken away. Shamsul and Abdul Razak then turned up at the police station at 10am yesterday and were detained.  

Aceh police spokesman Sayed Hoesayni said the two journalists were questioned because they had allegedly used “tourist visas” to enter Indo- nesia to cover the conflict.  

He said the interrogation was conducted by a police section that “monitors foreigners.”  

The incident had created a stir in two Internet cafes downtown here where international and local journalists usually work and file their stories.  

At the Jambo Internet Centre, some Indonesian journalists said that in South-East Asian countries, journalists could work on assignments with the “short visitation” visas. Both the Malaysian and Indonesian governments had signed an agreement to give short visitation visas on arrival, meaning that Indonesian journalists could also come to Malaysia without a “journalist visa.” 

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