Cheating case victim files motion for return of phone

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Yap (right) and counsel Ben Lau discuss the case at Yap’s office.

SIBU (Jan 1): A cheating case victim filed a motion at the High Court here on Thursday to order the police to return his mobile phone immediately, with the condition intact.

His counsel Yap Hoi Liong said his 19-year-old client, Law, had his phone seized by police unlawfully in a cheating case investigation.

However, Law was not the suspect in the case; instead, he was the complainant.

Law’s mobile phone has been registered as an exhibit for the case.

He said it was Law who lodged a police against his friend, Teo, who cheated the former in an investment scheme.

Yap also said the motion was to decide whether the police had the jurisdiction to seize anything from his client under Section 51(1) of Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) when he (Law) was not the suspect in the cheating case.

Yap said such unlawful seizure was a violation of rights to his client’s property under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution and an invasion of privacy of life.

“It was an unlawful seizure. They need to return the handphone as it is a personal property.

“As a result of wrongful detention of the property, we ask for damages from the respondent,” he said.

According to Yap, his client was contacted by Teo regarding an investment worth about RM100,000.

After a few months, Teo failed to return the investment upon demand; thus, on April 7 last year, Law lodged a police report calling for an investigation to be carried out as he felt cheated by his friend.

Then, Law had his statement recorded under Section 112 of the CPC, and rendered full cooperation to the police and produced all the documents and evidence, including all the messages with the suspect contained in his mobile phone, which were also printed out and handed over to the investigating officer in the course of police investigation.

“During investigation, the investigating officer upon instruction from the deputy public prosecutor, seized the complainant’s (Law’s) handphone.

“That is wrong in the law.

“If it’s a seizure, the seizure must be on the suspect, but in this case, it’s not. My client was not a suspect,” said Yap.

According to him, police had issued the order under Section 51(1) of the CPC for Law to deliver his mobile phone to the police, and the phone should be returned to Law after the investigation or after it was produced in court – if necessary.

However, the phone was seized by the police at Law’s house on the night of April 15 last year.