KOTA KINABALU: A Jordanian man and his Malaysian wife, who had caused a stir with their begging antics in the state capital, are back in town, a mere two days after being deported.
The 56-year-old man and his wife, 48, were the subject of controversy last month when they were spotted on the streets begging for money.
Locals had complained that despite the couple’s sob story, they had demanded only hotel accommodation.
Checks by police later showed that the couple were actually international travellers. It is unknown if they deployed the same modus operandi in other countries.
The man and his wife arrived at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport via an AirAsia flight at 4am today.
District police chief Assistant Commissioner M. Chandra said the couple are currently being held at the airport for checks by police and other authorities.
“We will seek assistance from the relevant department to deport the couple,” he said.
The couple had initially arrived in Kota Kinabalu on May 13 on the pretext of holidaying.
They were, however, spotted around the city and along the road near the airport on several occasions begging for sympathy to obtain money for food and accommodation.
The man and his wife, who was seen in wheelchair all the time, had also been staying in hotels within the state capital.
Netizens had urged the authorities to act against the couple after photos of them begging were posted on Facebook and shared via WhatsApp.
A screenshot of text messages shared by an individual who was approached by the couple showed that the duo had claimed to have missed their flight to Turkey.
The couple had also asked for the individual to buy them a ticket to Cambodia as the woman’s sister supposedly lives there.
“Based on the comments on social media, a police report was lodged and we detained the couple last Saturday. However, we cannot charge them as there is no evidence indicating they have committed an offence.
“After detaining them, the couple agreed to leave the state and were put on an AirAsia flight to Kuala Lumpur on Sunday at 9.30am,” said Chandra.
On how the couple managed to fly back, he said he was unsure as the couple was not cooperative when questioned.
It is learnt that the couple’s next destination is Cambodia on July 15.