First Human Trafficking Case Goes Before Court In Solomons

Seng was arrested after a joint operation made up of police and immigration officer investigated the matter following a media article on the issue of 'parents selling their children to Asian loggers'

By Assumpta Buchanan

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, August 30, 2017) – A Malaysian national has been remanded in custody on Tuesday afternoon at the Honiara Magistrates’ Court, facing a charge of human trafficking.

It’s believed this is the first human trafficking case to go before the courts.

Wong Thein Seng was charged under section 77 of the Immigration Act 2012.

Prosecution alleged between 30 November 2015 and January 2016, Seng carried out human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

Seng allegedly had a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl in 2015 up until 2016.

The alleged incident occurred at a logging camp in Isabel Province where the accused was working as a manager at the logging camp at that time of the alleged incident.

The father of the alleged victim was working at that logging camp, too.

The camp belongs to a logging company named Jubilant Development Logging that operated in Isabel Province.

That logging company also has a camp in Vella La Vella, Western province.

It was alleged the accused lived together with the girl at the Isabel logging camp and also took the alleged victim with him when he was transferred to the camp at Vella La Vella.

Prosecution alleged Seng is a married man who has a wife and children in Malaysia but lived with the under-aged girl when he is working here at the logging camp.

Seng was arrested after a joint operation made up of police and immigration officer investigated the matter following a media article on the issue of “parents selling their children to Asian loggers”.

Principal Magistrate Augustine Aulanga yesterday granted the remand application based on the grounds of absconding and interference with witnesses.

He said the accused is a foreign national who faces a serious charge which if he is to be released on bail might escape.

After remanding Seng in custody, Mr Aulanga adjourned the matter to September 12.

He advised Seng to secure a lawyer in the meantime and ordered prosecution to update the court on the status of investigation on this matter before the next court appearance.

The remand application was made by Prosecutor Rajah Patrick Abe.

Mr Abe said investigations are still continuing, adding further charges are likely to be laid.

Solomon Star
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