| Fadley Faisal |
THE Bandar Magistrate’s Court yesterday imposed imprisonment sentences for immigration charges on 14 foreign captains and crew members of two barges, which were entangled in a case of illegally entering Brunei and bogus declarations of its cargo volume.
According to the Attorney General’s Chambers press release, the sentencing follows a collaborative effort between the Anti-Corruption Bureau, Immigration and National Registration Department, Royal Customs and Excise Department, Ports Department and Marine Department. Six Indonesian nationals, six Malaysian nationals, one Philippine national and one Myanmar national were sentenced to one month imprisonment for illegally entering Brunei from Lawas, Malaysia.
In delivering her judgment, Senior Magistrate Lailatul Zubaidah highlighted this was a matter of national security and an effective message needed to be sent out to the public highlighting the importance that all barges enter Brunei via the landing port in Muara. Thus, in upholding public interest, a custodial sentence was deemed appropriate and the defendants were sentenced to one month imprisonment effective October 22, 2014.
The defendants were the respective captains and crewmen of two separate vessels, Abasa No1 and Jin Luck Dua, both Malaysian-registered.
In the early hours of November 20, 2013, the defendants entered Brunei through the New Temburong Quarry Jetty in Damuan River, a place that is not an immigration control post nor an authorised landing place, airport or point of entry under the Immigration Act, Chapter 17. The defendants were then charged under Section 5(1) of the Immigration Act, Chapter 17.
They pleaded guilty to the said charges yesterday.
The defendants aboard Jin Luck Dua admitted that on November 19, 2013, they boarded their vessel in Lawas, Malaysia, to deliver gravel stones to the New Temburong Quary in Brunei. They arrived in the vicinity of Serasa waters at about 10.45pm.
They headed straight to the New Temburong Quarry Jetty, instead of stopping at Muara Port which is an autho-rised point of entry. They arrived at the said jetty at 2am.
Upon arrival at the jetty at Damuan River, law enforcement officers raided Jin Luck Dua. It was sub-sequently found the defendants had committed offences under Section 5(1) of the Immigration Act, Chapter 17.
The court also heard that on November 19, 2013, the defendants onboard Abasa No 1, had boarded the said vessel in Lawas, Malaysia, and made their way to Brunei, arriving in the vicinity of Serasa waters at about 10.45 pm.
They too failed to stop at Muara Port, instead heading straight to the New Temburong Quarry Jetty. A similar raid was conducted and the defendants were found to have committed offences under Section 5(1) of the Immigration Act, Chapter 17.
DPP Sharon Yeo appeared on behalf of the prosecution while the defendants were represented by YC Lee from YC Lee & Company.