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Chinese ‘hackers’ denied bail yet again

A court on Tuesday declined for the second time to release 37 Asians arrested in connection with cyber-crime.

Senior Principal Magistrate Enock Cherono refused to release the 37, saying they are foreigners and therefore, a flight risk. The magistrate also cited their lack of proper travel documents for his decision.

The 37, who included 13 Chinese, 23 Taiwanese and a Thai were charged on December 17 with providing telecommunication services without a licence and had sought to be released on bond.

“The defence has not presented identification or travellling documents that indicate the accused are in the country legally, this, therefore, makes them a flight risk with a higher probability to abscond trial. The bond is hereby denied,” ruled the magistrate.

He further ordered that the 37 be remanded at Industrial Area remand prison until their trial starts in March. However, the case will be mentioned on January 23.

CRUCIAL DOCUMENTS

Their trial could not proceed on Tuesday as initially scheduled because the prosecution was still waiting for crucial documents on the case.

“We have not yet received key reports, including a cyber-crime report from investigating officers. This will make it difficult for us to proceed with the hearing,” said Prosecutor Duncan Ondimu.

Mr Cherono agreed to adjourn the case.

The ruling came as the trial of eight Taiwanese accused of forging a police abstract started on Tuesday.

The prosecution said that three witnesses were available to testify against the Asians. The case was scheduled to proceed later in the day.

The eight, with two others who are to be repatriated, were arrested on Ngong road on December 12, last year.

They appeared before Senior Principal Magistrate Joseph Karanja and pleaded guilty to being in the country illegally.

LOST PASSPORTS

They, however, denied charges of forging a police abstract form. The court heard that the forms they presented were signed by the Mombasa Central Police boss to replace their lost passports.

Mr Karanja had initially agreed to release them on the Sh100,000 bond after pleading guilty to being in the country illegally.

However, he noted that they were facing other charges of forging an official document and ruled that they remain in custody.

On Christmas Eve last year, Magistrate Cherono also denied bond to 40 other Chinese on grounds that they had not proven their tenancy in the residences they claimed to be living in in Kenya.

“The accused have not shown that they have passports and how they entered Kenya as evidence that they are tenants. No particular landlord has appeared in court to claim tenancy,” he said.

The 40 were charged on December 23 with running a telecommunications system without a licence, conspiring to commit a felony and an alternative charge of engaging in organised criminal activity.