KANGAR: Two Rohingya men were each sentenced to three years’ jail by the High Court here today after they pleaded guilty to a charge of smuggling a Myanmar migrant into the country last year.
Judicial Commissioner Abu Bakar Katar handed down the sentence on [email protected] Mohamad, 18, and [email protected], 19, who are agents of a human trafficking syndicate, who pleaded guilty to the charge after it was read out to them by a court interpreter.
They were ordered to serve the jail sentence from the date of their arrest on May 2 this year.
The two men were charged with smuggling in Mohd Belai, then aged 15, between August 2014 and March 10, 2015.
The charge, under Section 26A of the Anti-Trafficking In Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007, carries imprisonment of up to 15 years, and is also liable to a fine, or both, upon conviction.
When handing down the sentence, Abu Bakar said human trafficking had caught the world’s attention and the punishment meted on the two men was appropriate, although they were underage when the offence was committed.
Earlier, Deputy Public Prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz, who prosecuted, said there was no proof that the two accused were underage.
According to the facts of the case, the two men had promised Mohd Belai a job in Malaysia and agreed to arrange his travel to the country, via a small boat to Jasikala, Myanmar.
From Jasikala, Mohd Belai, who had no travel documents, together with about 700 other migrants, were asked to board a bigger boat and sailed for a month before arriving in Phuket, Thailand.
The migrants were then split, where the boy, with 100 others, boarded a small boat, and then a pick-up truck, to Palu, Thailand, before being asked to walk for about 13 hours in a forest to a camp at Bukit Wang Burma, Wang Kelian, Padang Besar.
According to Mohd Belai, only those who could pay RM7,000 would be brought to enter Malaysia, while the others would remain at the camp.
During his stay at the camp, between August 2014 and March 10, 2015, Mohd Belai said some migrants died, either due to sickness or after having been beaten and their bodies were buried in the camp area which was monitored by the Myanmar and Thai agents, including the two accused.
Malaysian police raided the camp on March 10 last year. However, members of the syndicate managed to flee, leaving 90 migrants behind.
Mohd Belai also fled, but he and six others, were caught by police the following day in Kampung Guar Musang, Padang Besar, while on their way to Alor Star in two cars.