KUALA LUMPUR A retired British soldier who said he was "falsely imprisoned" in Malaysia for 16 years after authorities seized his passport has won about $860,000 in damages, newspapers said Friday.
Ronald Beadle had sued Malaysia's tax office after it confiscated his passport in December 1981 to recover outstanding taxes, a move that barred him from leaving the country. The authorities finally stopped impounding his passport in 1998, though Beadle had settled in Malaysia and remained.
"His mind and self-esteem has been injured for more than 16 years," the Star newspaper quoted a High Court judge as saying when she ruled in favor of the 69-year-old from Derbyshire.
The judge said the tax office had acted arbitrarily and unreasonably in seizing the passport. But she did not think that Beadle had been "falsely imprisoned" as he had claimed.
Beadle was sent to Malaysia in 1961 to serve as part of a British army force stationed there. He later decided to settle down in the country and found a job with a helicopter company.
Beadle, whose Malaysian wife died three years ago, said he was not totally overjoyed with the ruling.
"No amount of money could have compensated the loss of 5,968 days when my passport was seized," the New Straits Times quoted him as saying.