: A married couple was charged in the Sessions Court here today with four counts of human trafficking, involving four teenage boys, for exploitation last year.
Muslim Ab Karim, 56, and his wife, Zaleha Mohamad, 54, who were charged with 12 counts of a similar offence at the Ipoh Sessions Court last Monday, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges before judge Siti Aminah Chazali.
On the first count, the couple was charged with trafficking a 19-year-old boy for exploitation as a forced labour at about 11 pm on Nov 9 last year at Restoran Kemaman Kopitiam.
For the second, third and fourth charge, Muslim and Zaleha were charged with trafficking in three boys, aged between 15 and 17, for exploitation as forced labour at a Petronas petrol station, Tanjung Lumpur, at 11.50 pm on the same day.
They are charged under Section 12 and 14 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 and face an imprisonment for up to 20 years and fine, if found guilty.
The prosecution, conducted by deputy public prosecutor Jaizah Jaafar Sidek, requested the court to not allow the couple bail as they would also be charged with a similar offence at the Raub Sessions Court tomorrow.
"The accused had been charged with 12 counts of the same offence at the Ipoh Sessions Court last May 8, and will be charged at the Raub Sessions Court tomorrow and the Kota Bharu Sessions Court on Sunday with a similar offence," she said.
Muslim and Zaleha, who are chairman and treasurer, respectively, of Pusat Latihan Amal Bestari, Yan, Kedah, were unrepresented.
The court set June 19 for mention. -- Bernama