Malaysian human trafficker convicted
Malaysian Jailed In Brunei’s First Human Trafficking Case
Bandar Seri Begawan – A Malaysian national, who was found guilty under the Trafficking and Smuggling of Persons Order 2004 and also convicted for an offence under Section 12 (1) (a) of the Passports Act, Chapter 146, has been ordered to serve four-and-a-half years in jail after he failed to pay a $6,000 fine for the violations that were committed.
His imprisonment will be in effect from the day he was first remanded on June 4, 2010.
In a first for Brunei, Sherdali bin Mohd Ali was sentenced yesterday at the Intermediate Court by Judge Lim Siew Yen and was ordered to pay a fine of $5,000 in default 10 months’ imprisonment and three-and-a half years’ imprisonment for obtaining a forged travel document – a Malaysian passport.
The passport, registered in the name of Majeid bin Khalad, was used to facilitate the smuggling of a national from the Republic of Afghanistan, which falls under Section 11(b) of the Trafficking and Smuggling of Persons Order 2004.
He was also sentenced to a fine of $1,000 in default two months’ imprisonment and was also sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for the offence under the Passports Act.
It was alleged that on June 10, 2010 at about 15:55 at the Labu Immigration Control Post, Temburong, Sherdali had in his possession a Malaysian passport bearing the name of Mohammad Yonas Khan bin Abdul Kahar, which was forged to allow him to enter and remain in the country.
The jail terms were ordered to run concurrently.
The monies that the defendant had in his possession were also forfeited and deposited into the Trafficking and Smuggling of Persons Fund as provided for under Section 19(2)(b) of the Trafficking and Smuggling of Persons Order 2004.
Of the 13 witnesses who were called by Deputy Public Prosecutors Christopher Ng and Karen Tan to prove their case, evidence provided by the Afghan national was crucial to ensure that justice was served.
The witness told the court that he was frustrated with the lengthy wait for refugees in Malaysia to be placed in other countries that could accommodate them such as in Europe and Australia.
Therefore, he sought help from the defendant who he calls “Uncle”.
They met at a mosque, he told the court.
He left Afghanistan due to the danger there and subsequently settled in Kuala Lumpur at the end of 2008 where he was given refugee status.
He confided his frustration in the defendant and asked whether the defendant could provide assistance and bring him to Australia.
The defendant, said the witness, agreed to help and told him to allow the defendant to handle the processes and only asked from the witness several passport photographs, to which the witness complied.
In order to get to Australia, the defendant told the witness that they would have to travel to Brunei and, when queried, the defendant said that it would be “good to go to Brunei first”.
He asked the defendant as to the activities that they would carry out in the Sultanate and the defendant told him to “leave everything in his hands and that he knew what he was doing”.
The duo travelled from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu by plane and travelled to the country by car.
He told the court that he had never seen the forged passport until he was apprehended at the Labu Immigration Control Post in Temburong by personnel from the Immigration Department as the passport was in the possession of the defendant.
He admitted the photograph in the passport was his but his name was not Majeid bin Khalad.
He also denied being a Malaysian citizen or Permanent Resident.
The arrangement, he explained, was that upon reaching Australia, he would contact his brother in Afghanistan to wire US$10,000 to the defendant.
The witness told the court that he had already sold his house in Kabul, Afghanistan to finance the arrangement.
The prosecution, as part of their case, tendered evidence contained in SMS’s that were found inside the mobile phones of both the witness and defendant that detailed their arrangement.
The devices were seized when they were arrested. — Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin