Friday, June 7, 2002

Malaysia clamps down on visitors from Africa

KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 (AFP) - Malaysia has imposed sweeping visa restrictions on all Africans except those from South Africa, a government spokesman said Friday.

The move follows a major sweep against Africans, codenamed "Ops Black Crow", in the capital Kuala Lumpur in February, which targeted alleged con-artists, criminals and "drunken troublemakers".

More than 200 Africans were arrested but most later escaped from police, who were accused by local newspapers of being "intimidated by well-muscled black men".

Previously, Africans from almost all countries on the continent had been entitled to visa-free access to this Southeast Asian nation.

A home ministry spokesman told Nampa-AFP that the visa requirement was already in effect, but he would not comment on the reasons behind the ruling.

Deputy Home Minister Chor Chee Heung told the New Straits Times that South Africans had been exempted because they did not usually cause any problems - Nampa-AFP