Syrian 'Tom Hanks' refused refuge offers in Malaysia

Syrian 'Tom Hanks' refused refuge offers in Malaysia
PHOTO: Facebook video screengrab

PUTRAJAYA - The Syrian man who made KLIA2 his home since March has refused refuge offers in Malaysia and other countries, said Deputy Home Minister Datuk Azis Jamman.

Azis said Hassan Al Kontar had insisted that he only wanted asylum from Canada but that his application would take as long as two years to be approved.

"We cannot let him stay at the airport for two years. He also refused to go to other countries that were willing to accept him as a refugee. A few countries told us that they were okay to accept him. We thought that he could accept these offers and when his application to Canada is approved, he can then go there. But he turned them down.

"That is the problem," he told reporters at the National Registration Department here yesterday.

"We will let the police investigate this matter first," he said.

Hassan is currently in police custody after he was detained on Monday for being in a forbidden zone and remanded for 14 days.

The Immigration Department had said that Hassan would probably be deported back to Syria after police had finished their investigation.

Hassan however refused to return to his home country claiming that he feared he would have to serve the army in the war.

The 36-year-old had been stuck in transit at KLIA2 since March. He gained online fame when he posted videos of his life at the airport terminal on social media, which subsequently attracted the attention of human rights groups and the media.

Hassan's plight also drew comparisons with Tom Hank's character in the 2004 film The Terminal, which was directed by Steven Spielberg.

READ ALSO: Holding pattern: Syrian "stuck in transit" in KL for more than a month

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