KUCHING, Feb 18 (NNN- BERNAMA) A total of 40 Sarawakians and three Sabahans who were detained in Cambodia on suspicion of being involved in illegal online gambling activities, arrived safely at the Kuching International Airport (KIA) VIP Terminal at 2.20pm today.
All of them left Cambodia’s Siem Reap International Airport at 10.35am on a chartered flight with Sarawak Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah and Santubong MP Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
Sending them off at the airport were Non-Governmental Organisation Antarabangsa chairman Datuk Dr Mustapha Ahmad Marican and Minister in the Cambodian Prime Minister’s Office Oknha Datuk Dr Othsman Hassan.
Tears of joy awaited the former detainees as they disembarked from the JC International Airlines aircraft and being greeted by their loved ones who had been waiting since 1pm.
Meanwhile, Fatimah said the release of all detainees had received a court order in the country.
She said throughout the negotiations period with the Cambodian government, the main thing they were being mindful of, apart from the release of the detainees, was to respect the law of the country.
“I would like to thank the Cambodian government under the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen that facilitated us with the release of all Malaysians involved,“ she said in a press conference after arriving at KIA.
She said the key to the success of the release of the detainees from the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Prison, was the concern shown by the Sarawak and the federal governments, working together until positive results were achieved.
“The Cambodian government was considering the release of the Malaysians and made the process easier after seeing efforts by the Sarawak government and its ministers as well as Santubong MP Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi, apart from the cooperation from the Wisma Putra,“ she said.
The decision to approve the release of 47 Malaysians detained at the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Prison was made by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen after finding all the detainees had being duped by a human trafficking syndicate.
Meanwhile, three former detainees from Selangor and one from Kuala Lumpur arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) this morning.