Man, woman get prison terms for overstaying

National 1 minute, 41 seconds


A MAN and a woman were sentenced to prison yesterday in separate cases after pleading guilty to overstaying in the sultanate.

Kunju Gnanasekaran got six months and three strokes of the cane for overstaying in Brunei for more than 10 years.

The 41-year-old Indian national was arrested on September 15 when immigration officers conducted a raid on a rented room in Kg Bunut where he was staying.

When Kunju was unable to produce a valid travel document, he was brought in for questioning at the immigration department. It was discovered that he had been given an immigration pass that was valid until May 3, 2005.

However, he didn’t leave Brunei on that date and claimed that his friend, Farok, had lost his passport.

Despite losing his passport, Kunju never made any attempt to report the matter to the relevant authorities.

During the 3,786 days he remained in Brunei after his immigration pass had expired, he worked odd jobs to survive.

During the proceedings yesterday, Kunju told the court that he was afraid to surrender to the authorities as he didn’t want to go to prison since he didn’t have a travel document.

In another immigration case yesterday, 50-year-old Hartatik was sentenced to four months in prison and fined $800 for the same immigration offence.

Hartatik, an Indonesian national, was arrested on September 15 when immigration officers inspected a house in Kg Tanjung Bunut and she was unable to produce a valid pass to prove she had entered Brunei legally.

During the investigation, it was revealed that Hartatik had entered Brunei on February 4, 2012 through the Kuala Lurah Immigration Control Post from Limbang, Sarawak to seek employment.

She was given a social visit pass that was valid until February 18, 2012.

Hartatik later admitted that she knew her visit pass was expiring but failed to leave Brunei before then.

According to the court document, there is no record of her extending her visit pass after February 18, 2012 and she continued to live in Brunei for 1,305 days until her arrest on Tuesday.

The Brunei Times