BUTTERWORTH: Eighteen inmates of the Tasek Gelugor drug rehabilitation centre who escaped during a riot last Sunday were charged in the Sessions Court here Friday with taking part in an unlawful assembly and causing destruction to buildings there.
They are B. Sivasangar, 37, Mohd Zulkifli Hassan, 29, Mohd Imanuddin Shamsul Rahman Khan, 22, J. Murugesan, 28, Baharuddin Chandili, 34, Zuhaimi Sudin, 38, Khairul Anuar Mahmud, 32, Mohd Hasrul Hassan, 27, Salleh Faisal, 43, Selbin Jalil, 29, Noor Azrin Azman, 31, Mohd Imran Mahad, 36, Mohd Nizam Abu Bakar, 29, Mohd Norhasmi Taib, 32, Mohd Sarihan Abdul Samad, 28, Abdul Rahman Abdul Hamid, 26, Mohamad Azizi Abdul Rahman, 27, and Sharian Yahya, 30.
They are jointly charged, as members in an unlawful assembly, with torching seven buildings at the centre.
The offence, under Section 436 of the Penal Code and Section 149 of the same law, was allegedly committed at about 6.30pm on June 19.
If found guilty, they could be sentenced to jail of up to 20 years and fined. However, all of them pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.
One of them then asked that they be detained at the Alor Setar Prison due to the poor condition of the Penang Prison as some of them had chronic diseases, including HIV.
Judge Julie Lack Abdullah set July 27 to mention the case pending a report from the Fire and Rescue department and to give time for the inmates to appoint their own counsel.
She also ordered that the inmates be sent to the Penang Prison.
Deputy public prosecutor Yusaini Amer Abdul Karim prosecuted.
Meanwhile, Seberang Perai Utara district police chief ACP Zulkifli Ilias said the hunt for the remaining 12 inmates who escaped from the centre was still on.
He believed the inmates were in hiding in Penang, Kedah and Perak and the police in the affected states had been notified to track them down.
"I advise them to surrender as this can help them during mitigation in the court later," he added. - Bernama