High Court acquits two men of migrant smuggling charge

The court complex in Kuching.

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KUCHING, Dec 9: The High Court today has acquitted and discharged two individuals on a charge of smuggling of migrants.

The court released Nicholas Ng and Lai Sie Ted, ruling that the prosecution has failed to prove a prima facie case against the two.

Among others, the court ruled that the prosecution has failed to show that any of the accused persons knew of the arrival of the Indonesians at the Sarawak border.

The only link of the accused persons with the offence was the fact that the accused persons were arrested together with the Indonesians, which was insufficient to establish the offence.

Ng and Lai were charged under Section 26A of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (ATIPSOM) Act 2007.

However, the High Court ruled that the facts disclosed an offence under Section 55E(2) of the Immigration Act 1959/1963 and thereby exercised its discretion to amend the charge accordingly for both the accused.

The case has been adjourned to Nov 1, 2023 at 9am for further mention and for the DPP to get instructions from the prosecution director as to whether they intend to appeal the decision of the High Court.

The prosecution was represented by DPP Md Syafique Md Hilmie.

Ng was represented by counsel Shankar Ram Asnani, Yu Ying Ying and Russell Lim, while Lai was represented by counsel Simon Siah and Moh Ung Kieng. — DayakDaily