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Travelers Beware: Hidden Cameras in Hotel Room



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Friday, January 4, 2008

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Dear eTurboNews reader,


What’s the first thing that you look for when you enter a hotel room? The bed? Bathroom, maybe? What about a hidden camera? Highly unlikely, right? Well, it seems the idea is not too far-fetched, as the hotel industry in Malaysia has found out. Malaysian hoteliers are reacting to an incident in which the privacy of a Malaysian government official was essentially violated when two sex video recordings of him surfaced. It turns out that four cameras were installed in a hotel room he had occupied. For the details, read today’s lead story.

The situation in Kenya may have shown its worst, as there are some indications that both sides may be cooling off and are ready to sit on the negotiation table. So far, the unrest’s consequences to Kenya’s tourism industry have been minimal. Except for some disruptions in the country’s transport services including certain flights being halted, reports indicate that tourism has largely been unaffected, and that no tourists have been harmed. Read the latest developments, read today’s second story.

Also, you may have already noticed our new look. Along with this new look comes additional features allowing you to maneuver from the newsletter to our website with ease. We have also added a comment field at the end of each story, so sharing your views has never been easier. Alternatively, you can still send us your thoughts via the email address: Selected entries will be featured in a new section called eTN Inbox.

Thanks very much for reading today’s edition. Have a great weekend!

Nelson Alcantara


Malaysian hotels react to hotel sex video fallout

By Yusof Sulaiman

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (eTN) - As the Malaysian public and tourism industry take in the fallout from a sex video scandal that has caused the downfall and immediate resignation of a high political figure, Malaysian hotels has been put on guard over the possible liabilities such scandals may affect the country's tourism industry.

Dr. Chua Soi Lek, former Malaysian health minister, tendered his resignation from all government and party posts after admitting he was the person shown in two sex video recordings made after four cameras were installed in a hotel room he had occupied with a female friend.

The police have started investigations to determine the source of the recordings, said Ismail Omar, deputy inspector-general of police. "We are tracing the culprits behind the video recordings, including those responsible for installation of the spy cameras, duplication of discs and distribution of the recordings."

The sex video recordings, said to be almost two hours long, has put the country's hospitality industry in a bad light, just as the Visit Malaysia Year campaign is being extended due to its impressive results.

Advising the public not to be "unduly worried" over the unwanted publicity, Sarjit Singh, executive director of the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), said, "We want to assure hotel guests their security and privacy are guaranteed."

All 400 MAH members will be reminded to be wary of irresponsible persons installing spy cameras in hotel rooms, said Sarjit.

Added Shahruddin Saaid, executive of Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners, the recording done in a Batu Pahat hotel room in Johor state was a "bizarre" case.

The incident may have also been one incident that has "fallen through the cracks" as local governments, authorities and building owners turn more and more towards installation of camera video recordings to tighten security measures.

"More and more cameras will be installed in building foyers, lobbies, lifts, car parks and around building premises, including hotels for security surveillance," added Sarjit. "If spy cameras are installed in hotel rooms, then they are obviously doing it against ethics and regulations."

Hotel managements, added Sarjit, should be on the lookout for individuals, including hotel staff, who might be in collusion with perpetrators by attempting to breach hotel guests' privacy. "The incident which occurred in a hotel room of a four-star hotel is an invasion of privacy."  Full story>>

Flights halted as Kenya violence continues

By Wolfgang H. Thome

(eTN) - All air operations depending on AVGAS and JetA1 aviation fuel have been halted across Uganda due to the lack of available fuel, after the reserves in Entebbe and Kajjansi have run low. Eagle Air has, at the time of writing this report, halted their flights to Arua, Gulu, Adjumani, Moyo and Kitgum including the stopovers in Murchisons Falls National Park’s Pakuba airfield and the extension to Kidepo National Park.

All types of excursions, shopping and city tours in Nairobi and Mombassa have been shelved by responsible tour and safari operators to avoid any harm coming to their clientele on visit to Kenya, a strategy which has up to now worked well as no single tourist has been reported to have come to harm during the upheavals of the past days. For this achievement, the Kenya Tourism Federation and governmental agencies and security forces are being praised for working together towards keeping visitors safe.

On the positive side, tourists have not been harmed or involved in any of the political troubles in Kenya, and the transit routes to and from the airports in Nairo
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