Lawyer claims Chinese investor unlawfully detained by immigration

A Chinese national with a RM10 million investment in Malaysia was due to return home on April 21 but was shocked and panic-stricken when the Immigration Department’s request to see him turned into an arrest.

Lawyer CR Selva said his client was “tricked” into going to the Immigration Department’s Seremban office in Negeri Sembilan on Monday, April 18, unaware of what was planned for him.

Despite having a special pass deemed valid until May 5, Selva said his client was immediately arrested for deportation and taken to the Lenggeng Immigration Depot in Negeri Sembilan.

Explaining the sequence of events, the lawyer said he received a text message from the department’s investigating officer requesting his client’s presence at the immigration office.

“In response to the message, in my phone conversation with the investigating officer, I informed him that my client already had a return ticket, and I sent him a copy of the ticket.

“The two of us also agreed that the condition of the special pass would be changed to reflect that my client was making arrangements to leave the country.

“Based on that conversation, I instructed my client to visit the immigration office,” he added.

When Selva contacted the investigating officer after his client’s arrest, the officer relayed that his actions were based on the deputy public prosecutor’s instruction – “atas arahan dpp”.

Selva pointed out that only upon the arrest of his client was he served with the notice indicating that the existing special pass had been cancelled four days before on April 14.

“Their failure to inform me or my client of the cancellation left my client exposed without a valid pass for four days.

“My client did not commit any crime, and the immigration’s actions are in contravention of Article 5 of the Federal Constitution, depriving him of his liberty.

“He (the client) was tricked into going to the immigration office three days prior to his departure,” the lawyer said.

DG has given no valid reason

Selva said his client had been bitten by bed bugs and mites while being held.

“He has missed his flight back to China, and they have detained him in unsanitary conditions at the detention depot for more than 10 days,” he added.

A letter was sent on the same day of the arrest to immigration director-general Khairul Dzaimee Daud requesting the grounds for the arrest but the lawyer said they have yet to receive a reply.

Immigration DG Khairul Dzaimee Daud

Selva added that they had not been given a valid reason for the detention or the cancellation of his client’s special pass.

Leaving due to bad experiences

Selva described his client as a 40-year-old father missing his wife and two children, aged four and six, whom he had not seen in over two and a half years.

He said the investor’s factory is a RM90,000 a month rented space in Senawang that employs 60 locals.

However, due to bad experiences, the businessperson, who has operations in the United States and Dubai, was now determined to uproot his factory here.

“My client has invested heavily in his high-quality slab factory but had a spate of bad experiences here, and this detention was the tipping point for him.”

First arrest

The Chinese businessperson’s first arrest was in 2019 under Section 55B of the Immigration Act and 39B of the Immigration Regulation.

The first offence was for allegedly employing workers who were not documented and the second was for purportedly flouting his social pass conditions.

However, the lawyer explained that he was acquitted of his charges.

Following the first arrest, Selva said his client was detained for 25 days in the immigration depot before he was charged.

Unfortunately, the movement control order and travel restrictions put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19 at the time had delayed his case hearing, and the case was finally settled this year.

“He was already acquitted of his charges on April 12, and his passport and bail money returned,” Selva said, adding that the prosecution could not prove its case.

The latest detention, the lawyer said was done in bad faith as his client had three weeks remaining on his existing special pass and the investigating officer hid his intentions from them.

“My client was shocked and felt terribly betrayed as he had always complied with the Immigration Department’s requests.

“So, my client felt there was no need for the department to trick him into going to their offices and their actions were highly unprofessional,” he added.

Selva has challenged the latest action by the Immigration Department with a habeas corpus application that will be heard on May 18 at the Shah Alam High Court.