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Touts extorting money at KLIA


Reports by MAZWIN NIK ANIS, JUNAID IBRAHIM, RAGANANTHINI VETHASALAM and JUSTIN ZACK

 SEPANG: After taxi touts, another form of touts is lurking around the country’s main airport, posing as so-called officers and making a quick buck by extorting money from unsuspecting first-time travellers from South Asia.

The Star has learnt that gullible travellers, especially from Bangladesh and Pakistan, are often pulled aside at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport by these touts claiming to be Immigration officers and extorted for cash.

The matter came to light when a TikTok user with the handle @khanxze posted several videos of a man allegedly extorting money from a Pakistani man who had arrived in Malaysia for the first time.

“When I was at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 1’s arrival hall, I was approached by a distressed man asking whether I could speak Urdu, to which I said yes.

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“The man told me that a stranger, who claimed to be an Immigration officer, had taken RM300 from him. The (Pakistani) man asked for my help to ask the individual why he had to pay the amount,” wrote the man who wanted to be known only as Khan.

Khan said he then observed the situation and found that first-time travellers, especially from Pakistan, were being extorted.

He also confronted the man, who posed as a so-called “officer,” and demanded an explanation, to which he was asked to leave.

In the videos, the tout was heard telling Khan that he would collect RM200 from each traveller and was simply earning a living.

“Jangan kacau. Kita ambil RM200 to RM300 tak ada masalah. (Don’t bother, there won’t be an issue if we take RM200 to RM300),” he said.

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Khan also said such incidents painted the country’s image in a bad light.

When contacted, Khan said he was at the airport to fetch his sister before he was approached by the Pakistani man. Following the incident, he lodged a complaint with Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB).

“I emailed the complaint to MAHB. I received a reply, asking me to lodge a police report too, which I have yet to do.

“However, I hope that the authorities will take prompt action because this tarnishes our image,” he said over the phone.

When The Star met with employees of food outlets at the airport’s arrival hall, they confirmed that they had witnessed the presence of these touts in the airport’s vicinity.

“Yes, there has always been a group of men sitting at the restaurant across our premises. We have noticed that almost daily, several groups of travellers would be stopped by the men.

“We’re not sure what happened, but based on what we heard, it was true that a man would ask for money from these travellers,” said an employee here.

The employee added that the touts returned to the same location almost every day and targeted those who appeared vulnerable, especially foreign workers arriving in the country for the first time.

However, since the video posted on April 12 went viral, the group has not been seen again.

“I hope something can be done about this. They are clearly doing something wrong,” said the local woman.

Meanwhile, a foreign national who is also an employee at a food joint there said a group of five to six men would come over almost every day.

“Two to three of them would be stationed at the arrival hall while another two to three at the food outlet.

“A few months ago, one of the victims told me that they had asked him for RM200,” he said when met by The Star.

“They would take a photo of the passport of the foreigner who had just arrived and press for money,” he added.

He claimed that some of the men were also seen with what appeared to be tags that would be used by the airport employees.

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“They would target Pakistanis or Bangladeshis who looked gullible and had arrived in Malaysia for the first time,” he said.

However, they were not seen at their usual spot since the video went viral.

Other social media users claimed that they had experienced the same.

One social media user claimed that the tout had demanded RM3,000 from his sibling, while another said her friend was asked for RM900, despite having cleared the immigration process.

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KLIA , touts , Immigration , MAHB

   

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