Larry Sng Wei Shien, Malaysian parliamentarian, announced that Air Asia is willing to cover the cost of flying all 47 Malaysians currently detained in Poipet, back home.
“I received a phone call from an Air Asia spokesperson yesterday who said they have agreed to foot the bill for all 47 detainees. … We haven’t figured out the mechanism to collect said money, but when the time comes, when the detainees are officially released, we will be ready,” the Julau MP told Khmer Times in a brief telephone conversation today (Feb.11).
As of yet, efforts to verify this with Air Asia have been unsuccessful, and the airline has issued no statements regarding its role in the rescue mission.
The MP announced that he will visit Cambodia on Wednesday (Feb. 13), with relatives of the detainees and Malaysian media to “check out the real situation on the ground.”
“We will take the first flight to Siem Reap … on Wednesday and should be there at around 9am. We will then head straight to Banteay Meanchey,” he said, referring to the detention centre, some 100km from the airport.
“I don’t have the final headcount yet, but a handful of the detainees’ family [members will go with me] … and they are using their own money for this trip. Let us hope it will be worth it.”
63 days ago the detainees, 10 them women, were nabbed and incarcerared for allegedly cheating, opening and managing illegal gambling. They still await trial.
The Malaysian Foreign Ministry stated that the Bantey Meanchey police informed them of the detention – verbally – 17 days after the arrests.
Malaysian Embassy officers here have visited the detainees and are working to secure their release.