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KUALA LUMPUR: Three long-time friends were yesterday charged with kidnapping Dutch national Nayati Shamelin Moodliar for a ransom of RM300,000.
They were hauled to court less than a month after they allegedly snatched the boy, 12, who was walking to Mont Kiara International School at 7.30am on April 27.
No plea was recorded from the three. They face the death penalty, or life imprisonment with strokes of the rotan, if convicted.
The accused are trader Chong Tat Siong, 23, from Chemor, Perak; handphone seller Foong Khar Fai, 19, from Ampang; and Lee Phak Seng, 23, an unemployed from Cheras.
The three were charged with one other still at large.
The magistrate's court was filled with family and relatives of the three accused. They spoke briefly with the three as they were led away after proceedings.
In court, the three nodded, indicating they understood the charge when it was read out to them in Bahasa Malaysia.
Deputy public prosecutor Faizah Mohd Salleh prosecuted while counsel Rejinder Singh acted for Chong and Foong. Lee was unrepresented.
Magistrate Erry Shahriman Nor Aripin fixed July 20 for mention to allow prosecution to submit forensic and chemist reports.
Within hours of the boy's kidnap last month, the news went viral as media organisations in the Netherlands, South Africa and Britain latched on to the story.
Posters of the boy were put up across the Klang Valley and neighbouring states, while his case was widely posted and discussed in cyber forums.
Nayati was released at the Rawang rest and recreation area along the North-South Expressway on May 3 after the ransom was paid.
The three accused were picked up in police raids on May 7, 8 and 10.