Nine Myanmar nationals charged with murder in Penang

BUKIT MERTAJAM (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK): Nine Myanmar nationals have been charged in a magistrate's court on Wednesday over the slaying of their countrymen in Penang.

Bilal Mohamad Ghulam, 28, Mohamad Rafik, 28, Habibullah, 20, Mohd Rafi Shafie, 27, Yassin, 23, Hussain Swaley, 44, Soe Maung Maung, 27, Ali, 33, and Hafiz Ahmad, 28, as members of an illegal assembly, are accused of causing the death of Myo Aung and another unidentified Myanmar national at a house in Cherok To' Kun, Alma here between 8pm and 9.30pm on Nov 23, 2014.

All nodded as the charge was read to them in Bahasa Malaysia.

Mohamad Rafik, Bilal and Hafiz were then hauled to the Sessions Court here where they faced another two charges of murdering another three of their countrymen.

The trio were firstly, as members of an illegal assembly, are charged with another person still at large with causing the death of Htoo Aung in front of a shop in Taman Impian Ria, Machang Bubok here at 12.45am on Oct 15, 2014.

The second charge before Sessions judge M. Vijalakshmi saw the three men, together with Ali and another person still at large, members of an illegal assembly, indicted with causing the death of Kyaw Tan Hla, 35, and Tun Yine Maung, 28, at Kampung Manggis oil palm plantation in Machang Bubok here at 10pm on Sept 14, 2014.

The offences under Section 149 of the Penal Code, and punishable under Section 302 of the Penal Code, carries the mandatory death sentence.

No plea was recorded from all the accused.

Bail was also not granted as Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder is a non-bailable offence.

Magistrate Diannee Ningrad Nor Azahar and Vijalakshmi both fixed Jan 30 for mention for the appointment of an interpreter.

Deputy public prosecutors Kamaliza Md Zain and Lim Saw Sim prosecuted in both the magistrate and Sessions Courts respectively.

All accused were unrepresented.

In the last quarter of 2014, two headless torsos, four legs, two heads, two hands and an arm had been found.

Penang recorded 52 murder cases in 2014 of which 18 victims were Malaysians and the remaining 34 were foreigners.

Of the 34 foreigners, 18 were identified as Myanmar nationals, 11 yet to be identified while the remaining five comprised Bangladeshis, Vietnamese and Indonesians.

At the Magistrate's Court in Butterworth, Bilal Muhammad Ghulam, 28, Mohamad Rafik, 28, Habibullah, 20, Ali, 33, and Mohd Rafi Shafie, 27, were slapped with another charge of murdering another fellow countryman Aung Naing Soe, 23, between 9pm and 10pm by the Bukit Tok Alang oil palm plantation in Jalan Jarak Atas, Tasek Gelugor on Nov 9 last year 2014.

No plea was recorded from all the accused as Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder is a non-bailable offence.

Magistrate Muhammad Firdaus Abdul Wahab fixed Feb 12 for mention.

Meanwhile, Saifullah Abdullah, 29, also a Myanmar national, believed to be a friend of the accused, claimed trial to a charge of not having a valid travel document at the Butterworth Court compound at around 3pm on Dec 18 last year. (2014)

He was charged under Section 6(1)(c) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 which carries a jail term of not more than five years or a fine not less that RM10,000 (S$3,714) or both, and is also liable to not more than six strokes of the rotan.

Muhammad Firdaus fixed Jan 20 for mention pending appointment of a Burmese court interpreter.

Deputy public prosecutor Khairul Fairus Rahman prosecuted the case.

All the accused were unrepresented.

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