KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian, Muhammad Fariz R. Azli was left stranded in Quito, Ecuador, after he refused to smuggle an "item" into Malaysia.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry, in a statement today said it had been informed of the matter, adding that the Malaysian Embassy in Santiago, Chile, which is also accredited to Ecuador, is handling the case.

The 24-year-old, from Pahang, was in Guayaguil, Ecuador for more than a month before contacting the Embassy via Facebook on Dec 26, 2016.

“He was in Guayaquil, Ecuador for a business trip. Before returning to Malaysia, he was asked to bring a “item” to be smuggled into Malaysia but he refused to do so and thus was left stranded there.

“The embassy has taken immediate action by contacting the Malaysian Honorary Consulate to provide consular assistance immediately by giving him pocket money and tickets from Guayaquil to Quito.

“He had a return ticket to Malaysia dated Dec 28 from Quito, but, it was later found to be fake and had resulted in him being stranded in Quito,” the statement said, without elaborating on what was the "item" mentioned.

The embassy had also contacted his father who is in the midst of getting a ticket for him to come back to Malaysia.

“He is now staying with a family introduced by the embassy until he can get a return ticket to Malaysia. This assistance was through the efforts and initiative of the embassy itself,” it said.

The embassy is taking this opportunity to remind and advise Malaysians who want to go abroad for leisure or business to always be careful and stay vigilant, especially when offered free tickets and rewards by certain parties.

Malaysians are also advised to inform family members or close friends when they want to travel abroad.

For those working on a temporary basis or long period are advised to register with the nearest Malaysian Representative Office.

For more information, log on to Wisma Putra (www.kln.gov.my) for further details on the Malaysian Representative Offices abroad.

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