Malaysia's court to decide whether accused in abduction case will enter defence

KUALA LUMPUR - The High Court here has fixed Feb 16 to decide on whether the three men accused of kidnapping a Dutch boy will need to enter their defence.

Self-employed Chong Tat Siong, 24, handphone seller Foong Khar Fai, 20, and unemployed Lee Phak Seng, 24, are on trial for the kidnapping of the then 12-year-old boy with the intention of getting a RM300,000 (S$111, 000) ransom.

Lee's counsel Choong Joo Tian told reporters that the parties had filed written submissions in chambers.

Counsel Rajinder Singh acted for Chong and Foong while DPP Nordin Ismail represented the prosecution.

The prosecution produced 29 witnesses, including the boy and his family, during the first half of the trial.

Chong, Foong and Lee are alleged to have kidnapped the boy in Jalan Kiara 1, Mont Kiara, here, on April 27 last year.

Under Section 3 of the Kidnapping Act, Chong, Foong and Lee face the death penalty or life imprisonment, and whipping if spared the death penalty.

On Oct 22, the High Court issued an order on reporters not to reveal the underage victim or his family's names, pictures or other details that could identify them during the trial, causing many media to cease coverage of the high-profile case.

The prosecution applied for the gag order as per Section 14 of the Evidence of Child Witness Act 2007 in order to protect the identity of witnesses.