KOTA KINABALU: Three of six men charged with possessing 1,308 tortoises without a valid permit were ordered to enter their defence at the session’s court here today.
Sessions judge Ainul Mohamed Shahrin made the order against Rashed Delan, 33, Alsadat Belog 37 and Madal Juldin, 39.
The other three accused – Ibrahim Kahal, 44, Sidik Napaeh, 23 and Rasid Alain, 38 – were also present at court.
On Dec 7, the six men were arrested by authorities after the tortoises were discovered on their boat in Mengalum waters.
Rashed and Alsadat are locals, while the other four are Filipinos.
Rashed, Alsadat as well as Ibrahim, who is an IMM13 holder, were earlier granted bail of RM20,000 each, with RM10,000 to be deposited.
They are charged under Section 41 (2) of the 1997 Wildlife Conservation Enactment, which was read together with Section 41 (1) of the same Enactment, which provide for punishment according to Section 34 of the Penal Code.
Each could be fined a minimum of RM30,000 and a maximum of RM100,000, or receive between six months’ and three years’ imprisonment.
The six men were represented by counsel Azheir Farhan, while Abdul Karim Dakog, from the Sabah Wildlife Department, prosecuted.
Azheir said the trial will continue tomorrow for Ibrahim, Sidik and Rasid.
A witness – Wong Kee Hiew – will also be called in to testify.