TAWAU: The Sabah Immigration Department has urged all parties, including airlines, travel agencies and the Chinese embassy, to advise visitors from China to comply with immigration regulations.
Its director, Muhamad Sade Mohamad Amin, said this was to address, among other things, the issue of Chinese tourists failing to get their documents checked at immigration counters when entering the country.
The Sabah Immigration Department, together with Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) and the Sabah Tourism Board, have also taken proactive steps by placing warning signs in Mandarin at various places around the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA).
KKIA is also making public announcements in Mandarin to prevent such cases from occurring, he said in a statement here today.
Yesterday, the Tawau Sessions Court sentenced four Chinese women to 18 days in prison after they pleaded guilty to an offence under Section 24 (2) of the Immigration Act 1959/63, for failing to report to the immigration counter upon entering the country.
The penalty for the offence comprises a fine not exceeding RM10,000 or a jail term of not more than five years, or both, upon conviction.
The sentence took effect from Dec 10, the date the women were arrested.
According to Sade, all the women entered Sabah via Malaysia Airlines flight MH395 from Shanghai, China, which landed in Kota Kinabalu on Dec 4, at 6.15am.
On the same day, they boarded flight MH2121 at 7.40am and arrived in Tawau at 8.25am.
However, he said the women had failed to report to any immigration counter, especially the transit counter at KKIA, to get the relevant immigration endorsement indicating that they had entered the country legally.
“All the women were detained on Dec 10 while they were having their passports checked for the return flight to Shanghai via Tawau International Airport,” he said.