Human trafficking: PFP chairman, 3 individuals plead not guilty


BUTTERWORTH: Penang Front Party (PFP) chairman Datuk Ooi Khar Giap and a woman, Chye Lay Hoon pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court here today to 10 charges of human trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation involving 10 local victims nine months ago.

Khar Giap, 55, who is also the company’s director and Lay Hoon, 52, who is the company’s human resources manager, made the confession after the charges against them were read out by a court interpreter before Judge Noor Aini Yusof.

According to the charge sheet, they are accused in achieving their common intention of having trafficked 10 local citizens for the purpose of forced labor at a premises in Taman Tangling Indah, Simpang Ampat, Seberang Perai Selatan (SPS) near here.

The offense was allegedly committed by them from February 14 to October 27 last year.

They are charged under Section 12 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 read together with Section 34 of the Penal Code which provides for a prison sentence of up to 20 years and can be fined, if convicted.

Meanwhile in the same court, two individuals who work at the same company, namely Lim Yong Choon, 47, and Woong Chew Hoe, 40, also pleaded not guilty to 20 charges of abetting human trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation on the same date and place.

The two accused were charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code and read together with Section 12 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 which provides for a prison sentence of up to 20 years and can be fined, if convicted.

The judge allowed the four accused to be bailed at RM362,000 with one surety and an additional condition that they must report to the nearest police station every month in addition to handing over their passports to the court.

The court also fixed January 4, 2023 for the re-mention of the case.

On October 27, the Penang police arrested 11 individuals, including a politician, on suspicion of being involved in a human trafficking syndicate hiding behind an alcohol and drug rehabilitation center in the SPS district near here.

State Police Chief, Datuk Mohd. Shuhaily Mohd. Zain said, the investigation found that the syndicate, which operated almost two years ago, targeted individuals with drug and alcohol addiction problems.

He said that all the rescued victims were forced to work in car shops, air conditioning services, wood shops and restaurants without being paid wages and without rest. – MESSENGER





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