PETALING JAYA, April 9 — The Sessions Court here today has denied bail to 14 associates of fugitive businessman Datuk Seri Nicky Liow Soon Hee on the grounds of insufficient merit.
They were among 16 individuals charged today for being members of an organised criminal group as well as for assisting an organised crime group.
The prosecution also asked presiding judge Jamaluddin Mat for the case to be transferred to the High Court in Kuala Lumpur, requesting for time to obtain sanction for the transfer.
However, the defence counsel objected to the transfer, arguing that the senior deputy public prosecutors (DPP) themselves could consent to this and authorise the transfer.
The prosecution then requested for a period of three months to process the transfer request as well as to complete any police investigations into the case.
This was also objected to by the defence, which claimed it is too long of a period, and is an abuse of power as well as prejudicial to the accused.
They also applied for bail for the defendants, which the prosecution argued against on the grounds that the Sessions Court has no jurisdiction to give bail.
Jamaluddin dissented, stating that he has the jurisdiction to do so, but decided against it as there is insufficient merit to grant bail to all 14 defendants.
The judge then set the mention date for the case to April 22, which will allow the prosecution to start seeking consent for the transfer under Section 177(a) of the Penal Code.
Jamaluddin also issued arrest warrants for Liow and his assistant Niu Zhe, at the request of the DPP.
Both Liow and Niu Zhe are one of the 16 being charged, but were not present as it is believed both have since absconded the country.
The suspects, aged 28 to 55, arrived under heavily-armed police escort at 8am today, and were ushered from the courtroom at the end of the proceedings shortly before 1pm.
The suspects present today consisted of nine men and five women, 10 of whom are Malaysian and four are Chinese nationals.
All 16 are being charged under Section 130(b) and Section 130(w) of the Penal Code, which deal with being members of an organised criminal group and assisting members of an organised criminal group, respectively.
They are also being held under Section 13(1) and Section 13(2) of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 which prohibits courts from granting bail for security-related offences.
The DPP team consisted of Kamal Baharin Omar, Mohamad Mustaffa Kunyalam, Rohaiza Abd Rahman, Mohd Izharudin Alias and Mohd Farhan Aliff Ahmad.
The defence counsel consisted of Datuk Rajpal Singh, Salim Bashir, Datuk Krishnan Nair, M. Hafiz Zainol Abidin, Salehuddin Salleh and Datuk Jensen Chua.
The suspects will be placed in detention at the Sungai Buloh Prison for two weeks, until the case’s mention date on April 22.
Liow, who was perceived as a legitimate wealthy businessman, was recently exposed as a mastermind of organised crime at the head of large-scale money-laundering operations and commercial crime cases which began at least seven years ago.
He went on the run after the police crushed his billion-ringgit scam network in a massive operation with the arrest of 68 suspects.