Three Singaporean cosplayers who joined Cosplay Festival 4 in Kuala Lumpur at the weekend were detained by the cops, along with five Japanese, two Thai, and one Hong Kong cosplayer. That’s a total of 11 people arrested and detained at Malaysian customs.

The Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia conducted a raid on Cosplay Festival 4, a two-day event located at Sunway Putra Hotel, around 2 pm on Saturday.

Several international guests were invited to the event. The event had booths selling fan-made merchandise, photo prints of cosplayers, along with song and dance performances.

Is Cosplaying A Crime Now? What Gives?

The detained 11 were allegedly violating the conditions of their social visit passes. By law, one cannot work here if they don’t have a working visa.

The organizer was also arrested on the grounds that the event was conducted without the prior approval of Malaysia’s Central Agency for Filming and Performance by Foreign Artistes (PUSPAL) for the event. He was released on 24 March.

Whereas for the other detainees, they will be investigated under Section 56(1)(d) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 and Rule 39(b) of the Immigration Regulations 1963.

Day 2 of the event was cancelled as well.

Can’t Argue With That

Rest assured, cosplaying is NOT a crime, but violating your work visas is. However, organiser Ahmad Syafiq Nizar Ahmad Radzi said that only Malaysian performers were paid and cosplayers paid for their own expenses when talking to The New Paper.

He’s taking the bullet for this one, he says, and has hired a lawyer for the 10 detainees who did not have their legal representation. The organiser hopes to refund at least half of the money paid by sponsors and related parties by the end of April, as well as the tickets.

The worst part of this is the comments about the event and its repercussions for the anime convention scene in Malaysia in the future.

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Top image credit: China Press, alvinology

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