Jemima Yong – our artist in residence in Singapore, courtesy of the UK Border Agency

On the 25th of July 2014, Forest Fringe’s photographer-in-residence Jemima Yong was refused entry into the UK by the Border Agency on grounds of discretionary suspicion.

Upon arrival at London Heathrow, she was questioned and detained. Jemima had been living and working in London for 5 years and had recently decided to base herself outside the UK. As a Malaysian national, she is allowed to enter the UK for 6 months at a time and was asking for 3. She had planned to take a train up to Edinburgh 5 days after and had on hand the tickets for her return flight to Singapore in November.

Jemima was refused entry into the UK, not on the grounds that she had done anything illegal on arrival but, on the grounds that the Home Office believed she might break immigration laws whilst she was here.

In the vein of ‘guilty until proven innocent’, Jemima was investigated: her luggage searched, private journals photocopied and discussed. They backed up their suspicion with proof of an unpaid internship she had previously undertaken on a visitor’s pass. All in all, Jemima was detained for 16 hours before being sent on a 12-hour return flight back to Singapore where she is now living.2013-08-14 09.50.12

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