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Trafficking evidence

Mere Naleba
Wednesday, December 05, 2012

HIGH Court judge Justice Paul Madigan has ruled against applications by the lawyers of two of the four Asians charged with human trafficking.

In court yesterday, Justice Madigan was not in favour of submissions by lawyers Aseri Vakaloloma and Isireli Fa on behalf of their clients, Phanat Laojindamanee and Lum Bing, that there was no case to answer.

Mr Vakaloloma made an application on the grounds that the prosecution had failed to fully establish the elements of the case, which was that his client Mr Laojindamanee did not know the three women who were alleged to have been trafficked into the country.

Mr Vakaloloma said the police investigator failed to establish that his client and the three women stayed together in a hotel in Hong Kong before coming to Fiji because it was a stopover.

He said his client had made plans to travel to Fiji in the hope of setting up a business and that he was always seen with the women because they spoke the same language.

Mr Fa made his application on the grounds that the women came to Fiji on their own will and that the Immigration Department and the police had not established that Mr Lum Bing had facilitated the entry of anyone into the country.

He said there was no evidence his client had made any representations to any of the women for sex in exchange for money.

DPP lawyer Seini Puamau, in objecting to Mr Fa's submissions, said Mr Lum played an active role in ensuring all the travel arrangements were done, that the two accused had arranged for a hotel room, booked the hotel room, gave keys and took care of checking the women out of their hotel rooms the next morning.

The lawyers' submissions were overruled by Justice Madigan who said there was evidence the two men were involved in the group as they had met the women in Bangkok and stayed together in a Hong Kong hotel before coming to Fiji.

The other two men charged are Zhang Yong and Jason Zong.

The trial continues today before Justice Madigan.


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