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40 Chinese hackers make yet another bid to be freed on bond

Forty Chinese nationals arrested in connection with cyber-crime on Monday yet again made an attempt to be freed on bond.

Through lawyer Sylvester Kibera, they argued that there are no compelling reasons to deny them bond since their offense is not serious and they are entitled by law to bond terms.

While appearing before Senior Principal Magistrate Lucy Mbugua, Mr Kibera told the court that the 40 Chinese national’s passports are valid and that they would not abscond hearing of the case if they were to be granted bond terms.

He faulted the prosecution for being highly prejudicial for delaying their trial and opposing their bond term application.

He insisted that accommodation arrangements for the accused persons had been made and that they are willing to present themselves to the nearest police stations whenever they are required.

However Prosecutor Daniel Karuri told court that their plea was another attempt to be released on bond yet there was no material change of circumstances reported since the earlier request was heard and ruled.

FLIGHT RISK

Mr Karuri denied having received any information regarding accommodation arrangements for the said suspects.

“The accused are a flight risk because they don’t have a fixed aboard, the offense committed is serious in nature,” Mr Karuri said.

Mr Karuri insisted that if the accused were to be released on bond, they were likely to abscond their trial.

He explained that investigations into the case have been completed and therefore prosecution is ready to proceed with the trial which kicks off on March 18 even though the court would not be sitting on that day.

He added that he wishes that the case would be concluded speedily.

The 40 are among 77 Asians arrested last year in Nairobi’s Runda estate by December 2 and charged separately in court with running telecommunication system without a license, conspiring to commit a felony and an alternative charge of engaging in organized criminal activity.

They had denied the said charges, were denied bond and remanded at Industrial Area and Gigiri.

CYBER CRIME

The arrest of the first batch of Chinese suspects in connection with cyber-crime was on November 30 following a fire incident that claimed one of them whose body has to date remained unclaimed as well as his whereabouts.

A fire brigade had been sent to the residence from the Runda police station a day before the arrest of 37 in one house after a report about a fire had been made and it had taken nearly two hours to put it off.

The 40 were arrested on December 2, 2014 in another house but occupants of a third house had vacated when police arrived.

The 37 who included 13 Chinese, 23 Taiwanese and a Thailand were charged on December 17 as they were the first ones to be arrested.

Hi-tech communication equipment were seized which were allegedly said to be able to carry out bank fraud and money laundering crimes.

Another lot of ten Chinese nationals were arrested along Ngong road on December 12, 2014 and arraigned in court for being illegally in the country.

Despite having appeared before different Magistrates at different times, all the 87 have since been denied bond.
A ruling on bond for the 40 will be issued on April 8.