What was supposed to be a 2-day cosplay event called the Cosplay Festival 4 happening over the March 23-24 weekend has turned into a nightmare for invited cosplayers and the event organizers, as 11 people, including three Singaporeans have been arrested in a police raid during the first day of the event.
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Cops raid the event
According to a report, eleven people were arrested and 52 people questioned during a raid of the Cosplay Festival 4 event at the Sunway Putra Hotel. The same report said that the raid happened on the first day of the event, March 23.
The foreigners were allegedly slapped with charges pertaining to their work permits and performance permits for the said event. Kuala Lumpur Immigration Director Hamidi Adam stated, “The operation was held at about 2pm yesterday after we received information on the organization of the festival, which was held for two days beginning yesterday.
“In the raid, 52 individuals who participated in the festival were examined and managed to arrest 11 foreigners and a local man,” he said when contacted today.”
He also said that the event was not cleared with the Central Agency for Film Visual and Foreign Artist Performing Application (PUSPAL).
Hamidi said the 11 detainees involved five Japanese nationals, Singapore (3 people), Thailand (2 people) and Hong Kong (1 person).
“Investigations have revealed that the detained foreigners have been in the country for a few days using a social visit pass. “However, some brands have also misused work permits given by participating in the festival,” he said.
He said all detained were investigated under several immigration laws in place in Malaysia pertaining to workers who perform shows in Malaysia. Common events and segments during cosplay conventions involve the cosplayers performing short skits, dance numbers and other types or production numbers.
What does the event organizer say about the incident?
Things are not looking good for Cosplay Corner, the entity who organized Cosplay Festival 4, as they have yet to publish a statement on what happened during the event. They have, however, addressed the concerns for ticket refunds, while apologizing about the cancellation. No explanation as to what happened during the first day of the event has been released as of publishing.
An organizer of the event, Syafiq Nizar Radzi, posted this on his Facebook account on Monday, March 25.
Unconfirmed reports and details on the incident have been circulating online through word-of-mouth, where some people have allegedly heard all the details from insiders and people present at the event.
What do ticket holders and members of the cosplay community say about this fiasco?
As expected, the cosplay community all over Asia (and even some from Europe and America) have expressed their concerns, as some attendees and even vendors have invested their time and money in the event.
Some may be aware of extraneous details and are rightfully mad about what happened. Even if organizers and artists don’t know the appropriate laws, it doesn’t excuse them from not filing the proper permits.
Some were really disappointed and had prepared their costume for the convention, which definitely means time and money wasted.
Others were more patient, but you can tell that the whole debacle was a terrible inconvenience.
While others thanked the organizers and say that it couldn’t be avoided. We can’t help but think this person didn’t invest that much money and time into attending the event.
This report will be updated as new developments emerge.
If you do not want to be arrested by the police when cosplaying in Singapore, check out this guide the team behind the Singapore Cosplay Club and Cosfest Asia developed together with the Singapore Police.
ERRATA: an earlier version of this article said that the event happened in Sunway Velocity Mall. This is erroneous and has been corrected to reflect the correct venue.