Supervisor pleads not guilty to extortion charges

GEORGE TOWN - A 43-year-old man pleaded not guilty at a magistrate's court to three charges of extortion by mailing bullets to three persons.

Lim Teik Chong, a photo lab supervisor from Lebuhraya Batu Lanchang, denied committing extortion and putting fear in Attaullah Habibullah, 56.

Lim was accused of sending a letter and an SME .38 SPL bullet to Attaullah at around 8am on Oct 25 at Kedai Jeruk Aishah in Jalan Chow-rasta to induce him to hand over RM20,000 to him.

Lim also denied committing the same offence against Lim Guan Ek, 54, by allegedly sending a letter and a bullet to induce the latter to pay RM20,000 at around noon on Oct 28 at No. 42, Taman Perak.

The offences under Section 385 of the Penal Code carry a jail term of up to seven years or a fine or whipping or any two of the punishment upon conviction.

Likewise, Lim denied charges of putting Chong Hin Seong, 42, in fear of grievous hurt by mailing him a bullet at around 3pm on Oct 21 at 6-U, Jalan Siput Kepah in Pulau Tikus.

The offence under Section 386 of the Penal Code carries a maximum jail term of 14 years or a fine or whipping or any two of such punishment.

Prosecuting officer ASP Ahmad Haizan Abdullah urged the court not to grant bail due to the seriousness of the offences.

"He is from Penang and the prosecution witnesses (complainants) are also from Penang. There is a high probability or tendency that the accused could intimidate the witnesses.

"Besides these three charges, there are 13 other reports of similar cases which are still under police investigation.

"Extortion is not something to be taken lightly. The bullets sent to the victims were 'live bullets'," he said.

In requesting for bail, counsel Ranjit Singh Dhillon said it was only speculation that the accused would intimidate the witnesses as no affidavits were given.

"He has been remanded since last Tuesday.

"He is not a flight risk and should be given fair opportunity to post bail.

"He is married and has two children, aged 12 and 10," he said.

Magistrate Dianne Ningrad Nor Azahar set total bail at RM35,000 and fixed Dec 13 for mention.

The accused's wife was also present in court.