The Washington Post - 24.10.2019

(Nancy Kaufman) #1

T H U R S D A Y , O C T O B E R  2 4,  2 0 1 9 .  T H E  W A S H I N G T O N  P O S T EZ RE A


new delhi — A 51-year-old
American citizen has been held
in an Indian jail for more than
three months after she arrived at
a border crossing without a pass-
port or visa.
Farida Malik, who lives in
California, was traveling from
Kathmandu, Nepal, to New Delhi
by bus in July, court documents
At the Indian border, she told
officials that she had left her
passport in Kathmandu and
showed them a photo of it on her
phone. Border personnel said
they checked her passport in
their system and found that she
had not applied for an Indian
Rather than return Malik to
Nepal, they arrested her and
charged her with violating In-
dia’s visa and passport statutes.
Her trial began this week.
Malik sounds “very anxious”
and “desperate,” said her brother
Nauman Malik, who also lives
in California. He was able to
speak to her briefly on Tuesday
for the first time since her deten-
Malik forgot her passport at
her hotel in Kathmandu, her
brother said. He arranged to
have it delivered to her lawyer in
India in August.
Malik was born in Pakistan
and immigrated to the United
States as a teenager. She became
an American citizen in 1992, her
brother said. She worked in in-
formation technology until four
years ago, when she left her
job to care for her mother, who
had been diagnosed with lung
A spokeswoman for the U.S.
Embassy in New Delhi referred
queries about the case to the
State Department in Washing-
“We are aware of the arrest of a
U.S. citizen in Uttarakhand,
India,” said a State Department
official who spoke on the condi-
tion of anonymity in adherence
with internal policy. “We take
seriously our responsibility to
assist U.S. citizens abroad and
are monitoring the situation.”
U.S. Embassy officials have
visited Malik three times, ac-
cording to her brother, to check
on her welfare.
India’s Ministry of External
Affairs and Ministry of Home
Affairs declined to respond to
questions about Malik’s situa-
tion, including whether her birth
in Pakistan was a factor in her
Malik’s detention appears
highly unusual. The State De-
partment declined to say wheth-
er there were previous cases
in which Americans had been
jailed after arriving at the Indian
border without a passport or
All Americans must apply for a
visa before arriving in India.
Chandra Shekhar Kargeti, one
of Malik’s lawyers in India, said
he could not recall a similar case.
His previous clients charged
with violations of India’s visa and
passport laws were Pakistani cit-
izens — most of them shepherds
— who had unwittingly crossed
the border into India.
Ashok Kumar, a senior police
official in the state of Uttara-
khand, said that he, too, was
unaware of a case comparable to
Malik’s but that authorities had
acted properly. “If you do not
have a valid travel document you
will be arrested under the Pass-
ports Act and the Foreigners
Act,” he said. “The court of law
will now decide.”
A Bollywood aficionado who
hoped to launch a singing career,
Malik had spent time in India in
the past. She completed a three-
month course at the Asian Acad-
emy of Film and Television out-
side Delhi, an official at the
school confirmed.
On her latest trip abroad,
Malik traveled to Indonesia and
Nepal before attempting to visit
India. On her Facebook page, she
posted photos of a sunset in Bali
and waterfalls near the Nepali
city of Pokhara.
Courts have rejected Malik’s
application for bail, and her
lawyer said the trial could con-
tinue until the end of November.
If convicted, she faces a maxi-
mum of five years in prison.
For Nauman Malik, the
thought of his sister spending
more time in jail is unbearable.
“She made a mistake,” he said.
“She’s not a criminal.”

Paul reported from Palo Alto,
Calif. Tania Dutta contributed to this



in India

for months


london — British police
launched one of the country’s
biggest ever murder investiga-
tions on Wednesday after
39 bodies were found inside a
tractor-trailer at an industrial
park in southeast England.
Essex police said the driver, a
25-year-old man from Northern
Ireland, had been arrested on
suspicion of murder.
The bodies — 38 adults and
one teenager — were found at
Waterglade Industrial Park in
Grays, about 25 miles east of
central London. Police have not
yet offered an account of what
might have happened, but the
scene bore the markings of hu-
man trafficking.
Essex Deputy Chief Constable
Pippa Mills said police had not
yet identified the dead or where
they are from, adding that it
could be a “lengthy process.”
Essex police said they thought
the truck traveled from Zeebrug-
ge, a Belgian port, to Purfleet, a
small town in Essex on the River
Thames, docking shortly after
12:30 a.m. That account is an
update from an earlier police
report that the truck entered the
United Kingdom on Saturday via
Holyhead in North Wales.
At about 1:05 a.m. Wednesday,
the truck left Purfleet, police
said. Thirty-five minutes later,
police received a call from local
ambulance services saying they
discovered the container. It was
unclear how the ambulance ser-
vices had been alerted.
“We have arrested the lorry
driver in connection with the
incident who remains in police
custody as our enquiries contin-

ue,” Essex Chief Superintendent
Andrew Mariner said in the
statement. “This is a tragic inci-
dent where a large number of
people have lost their lives. Our
enquiries are ongoing to estab-
lish what has happened.”
Police on Wednesday did not
name the driver, though several
British media outlets identified
him, citing sources in Northern
Ireland, and posted photos from
what were said to be his social
media accounts.
The truck was registered in
Varna, Bulgaria — a port city on
the Black Sea — to a company
owned by an Irish citizen, accord-
ing to a statement by the Bulgar-
ian foreign ministry. Bulgarian
Prime Minister Boyko Borissov
told a local television broadcast-
er that the truck left immediately
after it was registered in 2017 and
hadn’t returned.
British Prime Minister Boris

Johnson said he was “appalled by
this tragic incident in Essex.”
“I am receiving regular up-
dates and the Home Office will
work closely with Essex Police as
we establish exactly what has
happened. My thoughts are with
all those who lost their lives &
their loved ones,” he tweeted.
Jackie Doyle-Price, a Con-
servative lawmaker, told Parlia-
ment on Wednesday: “Sadly, this
is not the first time that we have
found people in metal containers
in my constituency. We’re really
sorry to say it’s all too regular an
occurrence and it was only a
matter of time before that would
end in tragedy.”
“This is now a multinational
problem that we need to fix,” she
British authorities say human
trafficking and modern-day en-
slavement are on the rise. Nation-
al Crime Agency figures show

that nearly 7,000 possible victims
were reported last year — a
36 percent increase from 2017.
Those people came from 130
countries, with Albanians and
Vietnamese the most common
foreign nationalities.
Police didn’t identify the peo-
ple found Wednesday as mi-
grants, but the case echoed fatal
incidents involving migrants
smuggled in containers.
In June 2000, the bodies of 58
Chinese immigrants were found
in the back of a truck container in
the English port city of Dover.
The following year, a Dutch driv-
er was sentenced to 14 years in
jail for manslaughter. The immi-
grants, who paid a smuggling
gang $26,000, suffocated after
the driver closed a vent on the
truck during a five-hour ferry
ride across the English Channel.
In August 2015, 71 bodies
were found on a highway in

Austria, inside a sealed and
locked freezer truck. Most of the
people were from Syria, Iran, Iraq
and Afghanistan. The discovery
came at the peak of Europe’s
refugee influx and became one of
its defining, tragic moments.
Research by German public
television and the Sueddeutsche
Zeitung newspaper later re-
vealed that Hungarian officials
had tapped the traffickers’
phones but failed to act in time.
After the 2015 incident, the
E.U. law enforcement agency Eu-
ropol added a dedicated Euro-
pean Migrant Smuggling Cen-
ter. In a report published this
year, the center found that the
most common method of smug-
gling involves hiding people in-
side vehicles.
Rod McKenzie, managing di-
rector of policy and public affairs
at the Road Haulage Association,
said the journey for the people in
the truck found in Essex would
have been “hellish.” He said it
was clear from pictures that the
truck had a refrigerated unit,
where temperatures can go as
low as minus-13 Fahrenheit.
“It would be completely dark,
probably completely airless, no
sanitary facilities, possibly freez-
ing temperatures, with the likeli-
hood of death from freezing or
suffocation enormous,” McKen-
zie said.
He surmised that those who
sent the trailer to Essex may have
chosen the route in an effort to
avoid the strict checks at the
popular crossing between Calais,
France, and Dover. He said au-
thorities there use sniffer dogs
and monitors that can detect
heartbeats, heat and CO2 levels,
among other things.
“Purfleet, however, doesn’t
have that level of technology to
screen lorries,” he said.

Noack reported from Berlin. William
Booth in London contributed to this


brussels — The timetable of
Britain’s withdrawal from the Eu-
ropean Union was in limbo on
Wednesday, with Prime Minister
Boris Johnson waiting on E.U.
leaders to decide whether and
how long to delay his country’s
departure from the bloc.
Europeans had been waiting to
see how far Johnson’s Brexit deal
could proceed in Parliament be-
fore they decided whether to de-
lay the day of the split, which
is scheduled for Oct. 31. But with
parliamentary votes on Tuesday
forcing Johnson to give law-
makers more time to scrutinize
the terms of Britain’s departure,
the control of the timing re-
verts to Brussels.
The likeliest outcome is for
E.U. leaders to delay the depar-
ture until Jan. 31, the day request-
ed by Johnson in an unsigned
letter he sent under protest on
Saturday. British lawmakers
forced him to ask for a delay
rather than to lead Britain out of
the European Union in October
without any deal in place to buf-
fer the way.
“I’m recommending the EU

accept the UK request for an
extension,” European Council
President Donald Tusk tweet-
ed Wednesday, saying he had
spoken to Johnson by phone to
explain his reasoning. Under the
likeliest terms of an extension,
Britain could leave earlier than
the end of January if it approves
the withdrawal deal before that
and says it wants to go.

But it was not fully resolved
whether E.U. leaders would go
along with Tusk. France, in par-
ticular, has been deeply skeptical
about repeated delays to the de-
parture, with President Emman-
uel Macron questioning whether
the bloc’s being flexible takes too
much pressure off British law-
makers to act.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Var-

adkar, an important voice in the
Brexit discussions, said Wednes-
day that he would support the
deadline extension to Jan. 31.
Johnson has floated the idea of
holding a general election, but it
remains unclear how that would
fit into a Brexit delay, and for now,
E.U. leaders aren’t showing much
interest in factoring that into
their decision.
E.U. ambassadors met Wednes-
day for a preliminary discussion
about the delay request, and they
will take further action on Friday.
If the remaining 27 E.U. countries
are comfortable with putting off
Brexit until the end of January,
they could agree to it on Friday
without further discussion. Dip-
lomats familiar with the discus-
sions said that most countries
supported a January delay but
that France was still holding out,
for now, for a briefer reprieve.
“We need clarity on the next
steps and a political clarification
to stop the toxic uncertainty that
is hurting European citizens, mil-
lions of families and businesses,”
French E.U. affairs minister Amé-
lie de Montchalin told the French
Parliament on Tuesday. “An ex-
tension is requested: What for?
With what justifications? We

know that time alone will not
bring the solution, but a political
decision. We cannot extend this
situation indefinitely.”
But there was widespread ex-
pectation that a delay of some
sort would be granted and that
Britain will not crash out of the
bloc next week.
Some British lawmakers told
Johnson on Wednesday to get
over it.
“Will my right honorable
friend get over his disappoint-
ment and accept that October 31
is now Halloween and it is devoid
of any symbolic or political con-
tent and will fade away into his-
torical memory very rapidly?”
asked Kenneth Clarke, a longtime
Conservative lawmaker and sen-
ior member of the House of Com-
There was little progress in
London on Wednesday, as John-
son met with Labour leader Jer-
emy Corbyn but failed to agree on
a timetable to move the Brexit bill

Booth reported from London. Quentin
Ariès in Brussels contributed to this


seoul — It’s a mountain resort
with a difference. Visitors to
North Korea’s Mount Kumgang
can revel in the beauty of scenic
valleys, waterfalls and temples
just a few miles from the heavily
militarized border that divides
the Korean Peninsula.
At least, that’s how the thinking
went. Opened in 1999 and envi-
sioned by North Korea as a desti-
nation for foreign tourists, espe-
cially South Koreans, the resort
became a symbol of cross-border
engagement amid often-fraught
Families separated by the Ko-
rean War have held reunions
there. South Korean firms invest-
ed hundreds of millions of dollars
in the project. But since the South
pulled out in 2008, after one of its
citizens was killed by a North
Korean soldier, the resort has lan-
guished as a virtual ghost town.
On Wednesday, North Korean
leader Kim Jong Un instructed
officials to remove “shabby” and
“unpleasant-looking” South Ko-
rean facilities from Mount Kum-
gang, state media reported.
He bemoaned the “very back-
ward” South Korean architecture
that resembled “makeshift tents
in a disaster-stricken area.” North

Korea should take the lead in de-
veloping the area according to
“our own way,” Kim said, while
stressing that South Koreans were
still welcome to visit.
Security analysts said Kim’s
move signaled his frustration at
the lack of progress in proposed
economic projects between North
and South Korea, which are
blocked by sanctions amid a dead-
lock in nuclear talks with Wash-
When South Korean President
Moon Jae-in met with Kim in Sep-
tember 2018, he agreed to resume
cooperation on suspended proj-
ects, notably Mount Kumgang
and a joint industrial park at Kae-
song — valuable sources of in-
come for the cash-strapped North.
While tighter sanctions on
Pyongyang since 2016 prohibited
such ventures, hopes were high
among business and political offi-
cials that improving relations
might lead to sanctions relief. In a
speech Jan. 1, the North Korean
leader said he would resume oper-
ations at the resort and the indus-
trial estate “without any precon-
President Trump — a real estate
investor himself — has talked up
North Korea’s potential as a desti-
nation for tourists and tourism
investment. He has even praised

the appealing North Korean land-
scape seen in footage of the coun-
try’s missile tests.
“You could have the best hotels
in the world right there,” he said
after his first summit meeting
with Kim in Singapore last year,
where he assured North Korea of a
“bright future” if it agreed to relin-
quish its nuclear weapons.
More than a year later, these
business partnerships have not
restarted, and a breakthrough in
nuclear diplomacy with Washing-

ton seems increasingly elusive.
South Korea would seek to
“protect the property rights of our
people” and was willing to discuss
the Mount Kumgang operations
with North Korea, said Unifica-
tion Ministry spokesman Lee
The flap over the resort, which
is also known as Diamond Moun-
tain, underscores the risks South
Korean firms face in getting in-
volved in ostensibly political proj-
ects with North Korea. While

some see a prospective opening
up of North Korea as a huge op-
portunity, many have suffered
losses when relations have deteri-
orated in the past, and had their
assets confiscated.
Hyundai Asan, a subsidiary of
the Hyundai conglomerate that
built and operated tourist accom-
modations around Mount Kum-
gang, said in a statement that the
company was “confused” by
North Korea’s announcement and
would respond “in a calm man-
The company had been prepar-
ing to resume operations for years
and had stepped up those mea-
sures as relations between North
and South Korea warmed last
year, said spokesman Kim Ha-
young. Hyundai Asan said it had
invested almost $200 million in
facilities and paid some $480 mil-
lion in operating fees to North
Korea between 1999 and 2008.
In a budget speech on Tuesday,
President Moon called for more
economic engagement with
North Korea, including a rail con-
nection across the border. Moon
said North Korea’s “bright future”
is only possible on the basis of a
“peace economy” led by inter-
Korean exchanges. “I urge North
Korea to reciprocate,” he said.

Man in custody after 39 bodies found in truck

Police secure the scene in Essex, England, where dozens of people were found dead inside a container
truck. Authorities have not categorized the case or victims, but human trafficking is suspected.

British police seize driver

in case bearing markings
of human trafficking

E.U. leaders consider delaying Britain’s departure until January

Kim orders razing of buildings that once drew foreign tourists

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, shown Wednesday in the
House of Commons, is unlikely to deliver Brexit by Oct. 31.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the South Korean facilities
at his country’s Mount Kumgang resort were “unpleasant-looking.”
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