Two women deny kidnapping of seven-month-old baby

GEORGE TOWN - Two women claimed trial in a Sessions Court here to joint charges of kidnapping and child trafficking a seven-month-old baby.

Zuzita Ahmad, 43, and Ooi Hooi Ling, 36, denied kidnapping the girl, who was under her grandmother's care, at a flat in Lorong Lembah Ria 1, Taman Happy Valley in Air Itam at around 3.30pm on Dec 12.

The offence under Section 363 of the Penal Code carries a maximum seven-year jail term and a fine.

They were also charged with trafficking the child for the purpose of exploitation at a longhouse surau in Tanjung Tokong at around 5pm on the same day.

The offence under Section 14 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Immigrants Act, carries a maximum 20 years' jail sentence and a fine.

Zuzita worked as a clerk while Ooi was a shop assisĀ­tant.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lim Cheah Yit asked the court to deny bail to the accused as both offences were serious.

"The victim is a vulnerable seven-month-old baby girl. Kidnapping and human trafficking offences are becoming rampant and need to be stamped out," he said.

"Both the accused also knew the baby's grandmother. There are risks involved if bail is allowed as the accused might disturb and bring harm to the complainant and the victim. They know where the child and her family stay. Bail should not be allowed."

Both the accused were not represented.

In pleading for bail, Zuzita said she has schoolgoing children and a sick mother to take care of.

"There is no one taking care of my mother but me," she said.

Ooi said she has someone to post bail for her.

Sessions judge Wan Norzanuar Wan Ahmad did not allow bail and fixed Jan 22 to mention the case.

It was reported last Thursday that a seven-month-old baby was kidnapped from her grandmother's house.

Two women, one of whom was believed to be a friend and former housemate of the girl's grandmother, took the baby out of the house on the pretext of going for a stroll.

The baby's 54-year-old grandmother lodged a police report when her friend failed to return with the baby after half an hour and could not be reached by phone.

The baby was rescued within 24 hours by police from a house in Balik Pulau following a tip-off on Friday.

Lim did not indicate in court which accused was the friend of the baby's grandmother.