Comedians hail govt support after colleagues held in Hong Kong

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - A group of Indonesian comedians on Friday met Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs A.M. Fachir to express their appreciation for the governments efforts to provide legal assistance to two Indonesian comedians arrested in Hong Kong.

"The support, solidarity, and sympathy help us reaffirm our commitment to providing legal assistance to our two brothers (comedians)," Fachir said.

The two Indonesian comedians, Yudo Prasetyo (Cak Yudo) and Deni Afriandi (Cak Percil), have been arrested in Hong Kong for visa violation by accepting payment for appearing in a show organised by Indonesian workers without proper working visas. They had entered Hong Kong on Friday on a tourist visa and were arrested by the immigration officials on Sunday.

The local authority of Hong Kong found sufficient evidence regarding misuse of the tourist visas issued to performers and violation of a residence permit by the event organiser.

The case was heard at a local court on Tuesday. The event organisers were released after being interrogated by the local authority but they have to report to the Hong Kong immigration on a regular basis.

"We appreciate the efforts taken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and hope that the legal process is concluded as soon as possible, so that our brothers can return home to their families," Eko Hendro Purnomo, also known as local comedian Eko Patrio, told journalists as the spokesperson of the Indonesian comedians incorporated PASKI.

Representatives of the Indonesian comedians and top officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs concluded their meeting by emphasising the importance of applying for proper visas, based on the purpose of their visit to other countries.

"The most important thing in this regard is a lesson," Fachir said.

"We hope our citizens, who are going to participate in certain activities overseas, confirm their visa since we have to obey provisions of the destination countries. All this has legal consequences," Fachir further remarked.

Meanwhile, the Consul General of Hong Kong and Macao Tri Tharyat said he and his staff has visited the two comedians in the prison and assured that they were in good condition.

The two comedians face a maximum penalty of two years in prison and/or a fine of HKD50,000, Tharyat said. The trial is scheduled in March.

The Indonesian representative in Hong Kong would assist the two arrestees until the legal process is completed.

Previously, Director of Indonesian Citizens Protection Lalu Muhammad Iqbal said the Indonesian community in Hong Kong often invited speakers or guests from Indonesia to perform at their event without confirming whether the guests applied for appropriate visa. The Hong Kong government has relatively been unaware of the Indonesian communitys activity in the region as it usually organises them on a small scale.

In case of these comedians, the organiser had announced the event on social media and had set a price. So, the local authority of Hong Kong assumed that this was a commercial event.

Source: ANTARA News

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