High Court rejects bid to release alleged Macau scammers

KUALA LUMPUR: Six Chinese nationals who were detained for their alleged involvement in a Macau scam and an online gambling syndicate will remain in detention under the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) 1959 after the High Court dismissed their habeas corpus application.

Judicial Commissioner Azhar Abdul Hamid dismissed the application filed by Jiang Xiang, Wang Jun Cheng, Li Jiang, Luo Hong Bin, Lei Meng and Yu Xiang Yu who sought to challenge their initial 59-day detention order under Section 4(2)(a) of the Act.

The court made the dismissal after allowing a preliminary objection by the respondents in the suit.

In his ruling, the judge said he had gone through the detailed and thorough submissions by both parties and found that Poca was applicable for non-citizens.

He also said the applicants are currently detained at special rehabilitation centres in Simpang Renggam, Johor and Bentong, Pahang.

“I find that the detention order under Section 4(2)(a) of the Act has become academic since the applicants have been detained for six months under Section 19A(1) of the same Act.

"Therefore, the respondents' preliminary objection is allowed and the application for a writ of habeas corpus is therefore dismissed," JC Azhar said on Friday (Feb 26).

Lawyers Gobind Singh Deo and Jacky Loi, who represented the applicants, said they would be filing an appeal against the decision.

In the application, which was filed separately, the six were seeking a court order that their arrest and detention under the Act was baseless, non-compliant with procedure and mala fide (bad faith).

They also sought an order that their detention did not fall under the scope of the Act and that the Act was not applicable to them as they are non-citizens.

They named Inspector Wayandiana Abdullah, the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate's Court, the Inspector-General of Police and the government as respondents.

The six were arrested by police on Oct 16, last year and were subsequently remanded under Poca from Nov 23, the same year, until Friday.

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