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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Court rules 11 foreign spouses’ detention unlawful


Judicial commissioner Bhupindar Singh ruled that the detention was unlawful as the immigration department did not state what the alleged ‘breach’ was for. (Reuters pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Ipoh High Court has freed 11 foreign spouses who were arrested by immigration officers over claims that they had breached the conditions of their social visit passes.

Judicial commissioner Bhupindar Singh, in granting their habeas corpus application, ruled that the detention was unlawful as the immigration department did not state what the alleged “breach” was for.

“They only mentioned that the 11 applicants (foreign spouses) were ‘suspected’ of committing offences under the immigration by-law but did not provide further details,” he said in his judgment, pointing out that all 11 women had valid passes during the material time.

According to the facts of the case, immigration officers conducted checks at Pusat Hiburan Oriental City KTV at Jalan Canning Estate in Ipoh on Dec 13 last year.

They arrested the 11 Chinese and Vietnamese women at a room. The women were detained for 14 days until Dec 26. They were then rearrested and held for another 14 days.

The department only cancelled their social visit passes on Dec 31.

The women were then placed in the Langkap immigration depot and their deportation order was issued on Jan 3.

They filed the habeas corpus bid to secure their freedom.

The court also held that the immigration officers had failed to comply with the law in producing the women before a magistrate upon their second arrest.

“What offence have they committed to cause the immigration (department) to rearrest them?

“The investigating officer had said the probe against them over the Dec 13, 2021 incident had been completed,” Bhupindar said.

The judge also touched on the order to deport the women, which he said was defective because the authorities did not state why they had to be removed.

“They came here legally and there is nothing to suggest that they would re-enter the country illegally.

“They or their local spouses were also not given the right to be heard before the immigration (department) issued the order to remove them,” he said. - FMT

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