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Jailed for trafficking 8 Filipinos
Published on: Friday, December 08, 2023
By: Jo Ann Mool
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Jailed for trafficking 8 Filipinos
The charge under Section 26A of the Anti-Trafficking-In Persons and Smuggling of the Migrants Act 2007 carries a jail term of up to 20 years, or with a fine, or both, on conviction.
Kota Kinabalu: A Filipino pump boat skipper was jailed five years jail by the High Court, Thursday, for trafficking eight Filipino migrants, four months ago.

Pocowan, 65, pleaded guilty before Judicial Commissioner Datuk Faridz Gohim Abdullah to smuggling the undocumented migrants, seven men and a woman, aged between 18 and 59, on an unregistered pump boat at 1.4 nautical miles off Tanjung Simpang Mengayau at 10pm on Aug 1.

The charge under Section 26A of the Anti-Trafficking-In Persons and Smuggling of the Migrants Act 2007 carries a jail term of up to 20 years, or with a fine, or both, on conviction.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Nurun Nazifah Muhammad Iyen informed the court that MMEA enforcement stopped a pump boat and found eight passengers and the skipper who failed to furnish valid travel documents to be in Malaysian waters.

Further investigations revealed that Pocowan, as the skipper, had carried out migrant smuggling by ferrying eight migrants directly from Sibogo Island, Philippines to Sabah.

Pocowan charged five of the migrants 2,500 pesos  (RM211.16), while two migrants were not charged as they were Pocowan’s relatives while a migrant still owed the fare, said the prosecution.

Pocowan, who was unrepresented, requested for a lenient sentence as he had high blood pressure.

DPP Nurun applied for a deterrent sentence as Pocowan was charged under a national security offence listed under the First Schedule of Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) after the amendment in 2014.

“This indicates the seriousness of the Malaysian government in combating the smuggling of illegal immigrants into this country.

The rampancy of the offence in Sabah waters leads to the influx of illegal immigrants into the country and resulted in an increase in social problems and crimes, said the prosecution.

The court also ordered the pump boat and its three engines to be forfeited as applied by the prosecution.

Pocowan was ordered to serve the sentence from the date of his arrest and be referred to the Immigration Department after serving his sentence.

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