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Illegal tour firm operated by Korean busted


24th August, 2017


KOTA KINABALU: A Korean operating a tour company here without a licence has been busted yesterday.

The suspect was caught during an operation carried out by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) Sabah Office.

The raid was supported by the police, the Immigration Department and the Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) enforcement personnel.

Led by MOTAC Sabah director Ahmad Zaki Abu Bakar (pic), the operation was carried out at 10am with a warrant to investigate the suspect’s office at Marina Court in downtown here.

The Korean, who is also a dive instructor and his local staffers was found operating illegally as a tour operator, said Zaki yesterday.

Investigation showed that they were selling tour packages such as inland and island tours with accommodation, he said.

They will be charged under Section 5(2) of the Tourism Industry Act 1992, for operating a company without a licence which carries a fine up to RM500,000 or five years’ imprisonment upon conviction.

“We have also found evidence that local licensed tour operators are working with the Korean.

“The local operators accepting business and tourists by providing their tour buses and services to this Korean suspect which is against the law,” pointed out Zaki.

During the operation, they also seized laptops, hard disc, documents and contract agreements, invoices and tourists’ contacts from the licensed tour operators, he said.

He said the licensed tour operators are liable to be charged under Section 6(1)F of the Tourism Industry Act for doing business with an unlicensed tour operator.

The penalty is a fine up to RM10,000 and two years’ imprisonment, if found guilty.

He said MOTAC is also empowered under the law to revoke their licences and bus express permits with immediate effect.

“This has been an ongoing state-wide investigation and licence tour operators must stop all this nonsense immediately,” warned Zaki.

Those who are harbouring illegal tour operations by working with third parties should stop doing so as MOTAC is closing in on them, he said.

“Many companies are already under our radar. It’s a matter of time before we bring them in,” said Zaki.

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