A MALAYSIAN man is to be sentenced on April 28 after the defendant pleaded guilty yesterday to seven counts of smuggling women and children into the country.
The 55-year-old defendant is facing up to seven years in jail and $1 million (S$1million) in fines for each of the seven offences of human smuggling.
The court document states that the defendant was arrested last April 12 at the Kuala Lurah Immigration Control Post after the on-duty immigration officer found that there were more passengers in the car than the number of passports that was handed over by the defendant.
At the time, the defendant had eight passengers with him but he had only handed over seven passports to the immigration officer. Investigation found that the defendant had agreed to bring a girl into Sabah at the request of the girl's uncle and he was paid RM100 (S$37.20) for fuel by the latter.
When the defendant met with the girl, it was agreed that he would be bringing two women and five children to Sabah. Investigation on the seven individuals later found that they were Philippine nationals.
The defendant admitted that he was aware that the passengers did not have passports and he had agreed to assist in their unlawful entry into Brunei by providing them passports that does not belong to them. In return, the defendant would receive a sum of RM2,500.
On April 12, the defendant and his passengers left from Miri, Sarawak in Malaysia and were able to enter Brunei through the Sungai Tujoh Control Post.
They intended to head over to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah by going through the Kuala Lurah Control Post but only to be arrested there following the inspection by the Immigration officer.
During the proceedings yesterday, the defendant sought the court for leniency in sentencing as he comes from a poor background with eight children to support. He further said that he would not re-offend and never return to Brunei.
The Presiding Intermediate Court Judge Pg Hjh Hanani Pg Hj Metusain has ordered for the defendant to be further remanded at Jerudong Prison pending the sentencing on Tuesday next week.