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Human trafficking suspects apply for bail

2023-11-24  Roland Routh

Human trafficking suspects apply for bail

Thirteen human trafficking suspects who were busted in a crypto currency sting operation have returned to the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court in their quest to be released on bail.

Toivo Herman, Fan Jia, Guo Linjie, Tango Muulyau, Haifeng Zheng, Li Zirian, Shi Zi Jun, Lin Shu Lin, Chen Wuyu, Neng Jun Wu, Wu Weiyang, Chen You Yi and Carlos Alejandro Batista Valdes have been in police custody since their arrest in October.

The group also instituted a suit in the Windhoek High Court claiming they were brought to court after the expiry of the 48-hour threshold stipulated in the constitution. Windhoek High Court Judge George Coleman, however, shot down their application and said he has no jurisdiction as there is already a review pending in the High Court before another judge. 

The pending review is on the decision on the ruling by the magistrate who first heard the case that a special review must be held on the issue of the 48-hours. 

The accused are now applying for bail afresh, while still reserving their rights pending the Supreme Court appeal. 

According to Sisa Namandje, who appears on their behalf on instructions of Gilroy Kasper from Murorua Kurz Kasper Inc., the accused are eligible for bail. 

Toivo Herman, a Namibian citizen who spoke on behalf of the accused told the court that none of the employees were held against their will and were free to leave anytime they wanted. 

The State is, however, opposing bail on the basis that it has a strong case against the accused, the investigations are still at a preliminary stage, it is a complex matter with transnational cross-border offences, there is a fear of interference, and it is not in the interest of justice or the public to grant them bail.

The accused are facing 98 counts of trafficking in humans, two counts of confiscation of identification and travel documents, 98 counts of using the services of victims of trafficking, one count of fraud, one count of money laundering, one count of racketeering, one count of failure to pay tax, and aiding and abetting any prohibited person to remain in Namibia. 

They are also charged with contravening the immigration law by overstaying in Namibia, working in Namibia without a permit, and entering Namibia without a permit.

Following the arrests, 163 computers, 350 mobile phones, six vehicles, 12 firearms, ammunition, and cash of N$19 500 were recovered. 

The total amount of the alleged fraud amounts to US$465 405.56 which is equal to N$8 814 781. It is alleged that the accused used at least 50 students to do their dirty work with threats to their families. According to the police, the students will not be charged but will testify against the accused.

2023-11-24  Roland Routh

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