Johor Sultan says forgives foreigners who alleged they were beaten up

By Lisa J. Ariffin
May 10, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, May 10 — The Johor Sultan said today that he has forgiven four Singapore-based expatriates involved recently in a fracas with royal bodyguards on the resort island of Rawa.

"We welcome foreigners to the state but they must respect our laws," Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar told reporters in Johor Bahru today.

Speaking at Istana Pasir Pelangi, Sultan Ibrahim said foreigners have to respect local laws, and the same applied to locals visiting other countries.

The Sultan (picture) said he forgave those involved in the incident and hoped they would return for holidays.

The four expatriates had alleged that they were attacked by royal bodyguards while on holiday in the Johor island.

Singapore’s The Straits Times reported that the men were “brutally assaulted” within hours of arriving at Alang’s Rawa resort on Pulau Rawa, the second attack in seven years on the island with alleged links to Malaysian royalty.

Palace security officials today said the foreigners had used vulgar words while "showing the middle finger".

The foreigners were also accused of being intoxicated during the incident on Friday night, according to a report in The Star today.

In giving their version of the brawl on the tourist resort island, palace and security officials said one of the foreigners trespassed onto a powerboat belonging to the Sultan of Johor berthed at the jetty and tried to choke a crew member who tried to prevent him from boarding.

The brawl then ended with at least two of the expatriates injured.

The Straits Times in Singapore had yesterday reported that the men were “brutally assaulted” within hours of arriving at Alang’s Rawa resort on Pulau Rawa, the second attack in seven years on the island with alleged links to Malaysian royalty.

According to the daily, the attack at the resort island left a 28-year-old British man covered with injuries and his German friend in intensive care with bleeding in his brain.

“They grabbed my arm, surrounded me, and kicked me in my genitalia to disable me first, then the onslaught just happened,” the man, who spoke on condition of anonymity, was quoted as saying by The Straits Times.

The holidaymaker said he and his three friends, all in their 20s, were having dinner on Friday night when a Malaysian VIP arrived with “a lot of security” and “they started playing hip-hop music.”

According to the newspaper, the two victims were invited over for drinks including shots of tequila with the VIP, also in his 20s, and his cousin.

“He was friendly all along and showed no hostility at all. My friend was in mid-conversation with the VIP and his cousin when this aggressive-looking guy just slapped him out of nowhere.

“I don’t know what the nature of the conversation was, I was at the other end of the table, but there was something that was said that wasn’t ‘correct’,” he said.

According to the Brit, the German was followed to the bathroom by the bodyguards.

“I went to see what was going on, but got pushed out of the bathroom. I don’t know what happened in there, but he ran out like a bullet... through the bar and out onto the beach then into the forested area, and they chased him down,” he said.

He added that the remaining men then turned on him before he dashed into the sea, swimming back to shore only after the attackers had left.

He said he then returned to his room and alerted his other friends, but the attackers had caught up with the German man on another part of the island.

The foreigners were asked to leave the island after settling the bill and later lodged a report with the Singapore police and complained to their respective embassies.

However, the security officials disputed the foreigners’ account, said The Star Online report.

They said the foreigners had rudely interrupted members of the royal family and their guests dining at the resort at about 11pm.

They said one of them even approached a member of the royal family and asked if he was a royalty before sticking up his middle finger.

“After showing the finger, the man shouted vulgar words at the royalty.

“This made everyone there angry and there was a brawl,” one security official was quoted as saying.

The officials said a bodyguard who witnessed the insult confronted the foreigners and that led to a fight.

They said a foreigner injured himself after stepping on a coral and was treated by a doctor in the royal entourage, according to the report.