Saturday January 26, 2013
Women and man claim trial to child trafficking
BUTTERWORTH: Four women and a man claimed trial to trafficking in seven children between 2008 and Jan 16 this year.
Ooi Ah Imm, 47, Chin d/o Din Chun, 57, Lim Choon Liang, 63, Lim Soo Chin, 52, and Bahtiar Abas, 51, pleaded not guilty yesterday to trafficking in the children aged between three months and five years.
They denied committing the offences between Sept 30, 2008 and Jan 16 in Penang, Perak and Kedah.
Each offence under Section 14 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 carries a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine upon conviction.
Counsel K. Supramaniam appeared for Ooi, J.J. Singh for Chin, and Y. Yogeswaran for Soo Chin and Choon Liang. Bahtiar was not represented.
The lawyers sought a low bail amount citing reasons such as health problems and financial difficulties faced by their clients.
Sessions Courtís judge Nabisha Ibrahim set bail at RM250,000 in two sureties each for Ooi and Chin, RM200,000 for Choon Liang and RM50,000 for Soo Chin and Bahtiar.
She fixed Feb 15 for mention.
DPP Siti Aishah Ramlan prosecuted.
None of the accused managed to post bail as the banks were already closed, since the court proceedings only began at about 5.15pm.
The courtroom was packed with journalists and relatives of the five accused.
According to yesterdayís report, police busted one of the largest child trafficking rackets in the country with the arrest of 33 people and the rescue of nine children aged between two months and eight years.
Penang police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi said the syndicate, which sold babies and children for between RM18,000 and RM30,000, had been active since 2009.