Nine Burmese nationals have been charged by magistrates with the killing in Penang, Malaysia, of two other Burmese men, according to a report in The Star/Asia News Network.
Bilal Mohamad Ghulam, 28, Mohamad Rafik, 28, Habibullah, 20, Mohd Rafi Shafie, 27, Yassin, 23, Hussain Swaley, 44, Soe Maung Maung, 27, Ali, 33, and Hafiz Ahmad, 28 stand accused of the murder of Myo Aung and a further, as yet unidentified, Burmese national at a property in Cherok To’ Kun, Alma, Malaysia, on the night of 23 November 2014.
According to the reports, the accused all appeared to acknowledge the charges by nodding as they were read out in Bahasa Malay.
Mohamad Rafik, Bilal and Hafiz were then transferred to a sessions court where they faced two further charges of murdering another three Burmese nationals.
This hearing comes during the same week as another high-profile Burmese issue in Malaysia.
In Kulim, Kedah, 17 trafficking victims were discovered as police officers, investigating the murder of 40-year-old Burmese man Abul Kassim Abdul Shukur, paid a visit to a house in connection with his death.
Abul Kassim, a migrant registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, was found dead by a construction worker in Jala Ara Kuda. A report in The Star indicates that the body had been moved from the site of the killing.
A 33-year-old man was arrested in connection with the murder, which led police to the house in Kulim.
Datuk Mazlan Kesah, senior assistant commander for the Criminal Investigation Department of Malaysian police, on Wednesday told reporters: “When we went there, we found the victims who were being guarded by two Myanmar [Burma] nationals and a Bangladeshi. We rescued the victims and handed them over to the Kulim police for further investigations. The three foreigners who guarded them were arrested.”
Datuk Mazlan said that Abul Kassim was last seen being taken from his house by five men. Another four men were arrested in Sungai Acheh and Bukit Tengah, Malaysia, to assist in the investigation.
He added that investigations into the human trafficking group are ongoing, and that further arrests are expected.
Burmese nationals in Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country, are frequently embroiled in violence as tensions in Burma carry over to the nearby country.