Application to remand suspects in Balingian murder case rejected

Sarawak-Criminal-Investigation-Department-head-Dev-KumarMIRI: The Magistrate’s Court here today rejected an application by the police for a remand order against nine suspects who were detained in connection with the Balingian murder case.

Magistrate Zuriani Ali Musa rejected the application submitted by ASP Lee Chee Keat on grounds that the nine suspects could assist in the ongoing investigations.

The nine suspects, aged between 19 and 45, surrendered themselves at the Miri police station yesterday. They are represented by lawyer Ranbhir Singh Sangha.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Criminal Investigation Department head Dev Kumar said 22 suspects were in police custody at the moment to facilitate investigation of the case.

The investigation team is rushing for time to record statements, conduct identification parades and seize more exhibits relating to the case, he added.

On the remand application, he said, it was necessary as time was needed for the investigation team to escort the suspects to Mukah for questioning.

“These nine suspects from Miri are key to unraveling what actually transpired at the blockade,” he said in a statement today.

However, he said, the application was rejected by the Magistrate’s Court here and the suspects were released.

“This is the second time this year that the Miri Magistrate Court has rejected our request for remand in a case of public interest, the first during the Bill Kayong murder investigation,” he added.

On Oct 24, a group of men attempted to force their way through a barricade at the entrance of an oil palm plantation which caused the death of Fabian Janti Lebau, 26.

The deceased was found by the police lying face-down on the ground with a machete in one hand.

The blockade was said to have been erected since Oct 4 following demands by some villagers from longhouses in the area for more compensation from the company which owns the plantation.