MELAKA : A group of foreign tourists who were allegedly peddling without licence, selling friendship bands, handicraft and other handmade items outside Hard Rock Cafe were asked to leave and never to return by a team of Melaka Historic City Council (MBMB) enforcement officers on Jonker Street, Bandar Hilir, here last night.
The tourists, mostly believed to be backpackers in their 20s, were said to be sitting on the sidewalk opposite the hotel premises and peddling the items illegally, creating an eyesore to other visitors and tourists visiting the historic state.
Melaka city mayor Mansor Sudin said MBMB had issued a directive to the enforcement officers to have all the foreign peddlers removed with immediate effect at about 9pm.
"We understand that these people are supposedly here on tourist visa, so how can they do business or sell anything here,. That is an offence. We ordered them to leave prudently and they cooperated. However, if they had not adhered to our warning, then we would have proceeded to issuing notice, compound or even confiscate their things," he told the NSTP here when contacted today.
Mansor suspects that the tourists resort to this as a way to collect money after they run out of cash holidaying and because they simply want to take advantage of the local people's generosity.
"The council has stationed two council officers to make their rounds but at times, we also conduct integrated operations together with agencies like the police and Immigration Department," he said.
A Facebook account holder by the name of Michael Quay uploaded a 56 seconds video on his status showing the group's illegal peddling at Jonker Street in front of Hard Rock cafe here.
In the video one of the tourists is seen arguing with a taxi driver after he apparently told her to watch her dressing because it's the fasting month. The woman also tries to stop the man filming the argument and threatened to throw his device into the river if he continued to video them peddling outside the hotel.
Quay in his post wrote :"Met Hard Rock Cafe Team, they said they had complained to MBMB, and expressed that the authorities came several times to chase these foreign peddlers away, but these peddlers return an hour later with no guilt or fear. And they are there everyday.
"They have no license or permit! Why not confiscate their items? Why are we allowing them to come back?" he asked in the post.
He added that this issue has been brought up in several Facebook chats, but it still remained unresolved.
During the confrontation, he said a local man came in the defence of the foreigners claiming to be a 'Datuk' with Pakatan Harapan government.
Quay said he told him to stay away and not bother the peddlers who were operating illegally.
"It seems like these foreigners are more bold with no fear of the authorities.
'There are more of them everywhere," he wrote in the social account post calling for authorities to relook at the issue.