A Kiwi tourist who travelled to Kazakhstan was interrogated by officials in the central Asian country who did not believe New Zealand was a sovereign state.
Instead, immigration officers at Almaty Airport thought Aotearoa was a state of Australia and held Chloe Phillips-Harris, 28, for two days.
The self-described adventurer arrived in Kazakhstan in May to discover and travel around the mountainous country.
She said to make matters worse, a world map hanging in the immigration interview room had missed off New Zealand.
“I got to an immigration booth and they asked me for an Australian passport, and told me I couldn’t come in without an Australian passport,” she told NZME.
“They said New Zealand’s clearly a part of Australia.”
She was escorted onto a China-bound plane but managed to call contacts and was then taken off the aircraft only to be whisked into an interrogation room, where she was met by police, immigration and airport officials.
However, she said her contacts managed to secure her an American passport and new visa.
“The people I knew in Kazakhstan got me a new type of visa and paid the right people and got me out, that’s probably the easiest explanation,” she told NZME.
Once in, she spent six months in Kazakhstan, describing it as a beautiful country with a lot of good people.
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