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Malaysian minister apologizes for crimes
By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-07 06:11

Malaysia's home minister said yesterday that Malaysia was sorry for recent crimes against Chinese citizens in Malaysia, expressing the "shock and dismay" of the government and people of his country.

Malaysian minister apologizes for crimes
A combination of video grabs from a mobile phone video clip shows a young Chinese woman after she was stripped at a police station in Malaysia. [Reuters]

"The thing is, for the things that have happened, especially there was a case of murder and there was a case of rape. These are outside our control, actually, but we apologize, because we don't like to see these things happen," said Azmi Khalid at a press conference in Beijing.

"Results of the investigation will be made public and everything will be transparent," Azmi said.

According to a separate press statement from his delegation, Azmi told his Chinese counterparts that "Malaysia does not treat Chinese tourists any differently from other tourists."

"The minister also expressed the government and people of Malaysia's shock and dismay at the recent incidents involving Chinese nationals," it said.

Azmi is currently on a week-long tour of China in an attempt to mend fences following a series of abuse incidents involving Chinese nationals, including the notorious case of a naked Chinese-looking woman forced to do ear squats in front of a Malaysian policewoman.

The minister refused to reveal any details of the ongoing investigation, saying neither the woman nor the policewoman had been identified.

However, he urged the woman in the video clip to come forward, and promised to grant her legal status if her residence is illegal.

He said the prime minister had appointed a former chief justice to head the special inquiry commission.

Responding to Azmi's trip to China, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said China hopes Malaysia would continue to take serious measures to fully investigate the incidents and to bring the perpetrators to justice. He asked the Malaysian side to protect the lawful interests of Chinese nationals and prevent the recurrence of similar incidents.

Azmi will go to Shanghai today and then to Guangzhou to continue to reassure the public that Malaysia always welcomes Chinese tourists and business people, and is a safe country to visit.

He also told reporters that the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing is simplifying the visa application procedures, and that Chinese people will be able to get their visas online in two months time.

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