Datuk Seri Nicky Liow Soon Hee — who is an alleged leader of a secret society and mastermind of various shady businesses — has been charged in court even though he is currently on the run
According to New Straits Times, Johor police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay revealed that Liow and his personal assistant Niu Zhe have been charged under Section 130v of the Penal Code for being members of an organised crime group.
Niu Zhe is believed to be Liow's wife, who is a Chinese national, reported Harian Metro.
"The charges were made in absentia as both of them are still at large," said Ayob Khan in a statement.
Under Section 425A of the Criminal Procedure Code, the provision allows courts to charge the accused in absentia as long as the courts do not mete out the death sentence, imprisonment for life, or imprisonment for natural life on the accused.
Additionally, Liow's two siblings Datuk Liow Wei Loon and Datuk Liow Wei Kin have also been charged
Liow's brothers and 12 other individuals known to be his associates were all charged under the same provision for being members of an organised crime group.
If convicted, they could face imprisonment of up to 12 years.
"An auditor, Datuk Seri Andrew Lim Kim Ming, was also charged under Section 130w of the Penal Code for aiding an organised crime group," New Straits Times quoted Ayob Khan as saying.
The other Datuks who are charged with the group have been identified as Datuk Lee Kum Weng and Datuk Loo Siew Chin.
None of the accused were granted bail during the proceeding today
The accused were charged at the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court, presided by judge Jamaluddin Mat, reported Malay Mail.
Earlier, Jamaluddin denied the defence's request to grant bail on the grounds that there is insufficient merit for that.
Jamaluddin also issued arrest warrants for Liow and Niu Zhe following the request from deputy public prosecutors (DPP).
However, the duo is believed to have absconded the country.
Other than being charged under the Penal Code, the accused are also being held under Section 13(1) and Section 13(2) of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 — also known as SOSMA — which prohibits courts from granting bail for security-related offences.
Ayob Khan had earlier this week said that, "This is the first time in the history of commercial offences that we are arresting under SOSMA."
Astro Awani quoted him as saying that the police will arrest Liow and provide enough evidence to prosecute and convict him in court.
"My style (is) when I catch him, I will make sure he is charged. When charged, I want him convicted," said the Johor police chief.
"I don't want to catch and after that, silent and go free, like Addy Kana. To catch is one thing, but where does it end?"
Here are eight things you need to know about Liow after the police announced that they are currently hunting him down: