HK activist refused entry at Penang airport

HK activist refused entry at Penang airport
Joshua Wong, who was denied entry into Malaysia, arriving at Hong Kong International Airport. He was to speak at a forum in Penang.

KUALA LUMPUR - Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong was kicked out of the country within the hour after touching down in Penang.

But the Home Ministry says in an immediate response that not everyone is barred from Malaysia because of differences in political views.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said all foreigners were given the chance to enter the country but action would be taken if there were "elements of negativity".

Asked to state the ministry's stand on foreign activists who want to enter the country, he said: "We will have to check on a case-to-case basis."

Dr Ahmad Zahid said he would have to check with the Immigration director-general on the case of Wong, who was deported upon arrival at the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas at about noon yesterday.

Wong, 18, was scheduled to attend a forum titled "The Uprising of Youth and New Social Activism in Singapore and Hong Kong" at Auditorium A in Komtar, Penang, last night.

In George Town, forum organising team member Chin Kae Min said Wong, one of the three speakers at the forum, was sent back at 12.55pm on the same plane he arrived in.

"Wong contacted us on his handphone, but we could hear him saying, 'Don't use violence, I am talking to my friend.'

"He then told us several Immi­gration officers pulled him away and tried to grab his handphone.

"I told him to follow them for safety reasons.

"Immigration officers claimed they were acting on instruction from the top," Chin told a press conference after rushing to the airport.

Wong, 18, has become the face of Hong Kong's pro-democracy student protest movement, leading students in a massive protest last year.

He was scheduled to give talks in Penang, Ipoh, Johor Baru and Petaling Jaya, beginning yesterday to Friday.

Wong was slated to share his experience and views on the Umbrella Movement and the Tiananmen Square incident.

The forums were said to be a run-up to the 26th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre which happened on June 4, 1989.

Chin said the forum would continue despite Wong's absence.

The other speaker was Singa­porean activist Han Hui Hui while Leung Kwok-hung, a member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, would only join the last stop in Petaling Jaya.

Last night, AFP reported Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar as saying that Wong was barred because of fears he would threaten ties with China.

He said the purpose of Wong's visit was to explain how he had organised demonstrations in Hong Kong.

"We were afraid that what he was going to speak about would harm our security," he said.

"He was also going to speak about China. We know his anti-Chinese speeches. We do not want him to jeopardise our ties with China."

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