Bandar Seri Begawan: Three foreign nationals who were charged with holding fake Cypriot passports and thefts have been identified as nationals of the Islamic Republic of Iran and their real identities were revealed yesterday whilst pleas were taken on all charges before the Bandar Seri Begawan Magistrate's Court.
Huseyn Taherzedeh pleaded guilty to all the charges of thefts and holding a forged passport.
Fatime Taheri pleaded guilty to possession of a forged passport and claimed trial to thefts.
Shahin Namdar pleaded guilty to possession of a fake passport and also denied committing theft.
Senior Magistrate Lailatul Zubaidah Hussain reserved sentencing for Fatime and Shahin on the fake passport possession charges to be dealt with after the condusion of their trial on the theft charges.
Sentencing for Huseyn was fixed on December 23, 2013 whilst Fatima and Shahin's case to be mentioned on January 2, 2014.
The prosecution sought com-pensation against Huseyn for the loss in thefts committed.
Defence Counsel Rozaiman Rahman, representing all three defendants, submitted yesterday on all the charges which the defendants pleaded guilty to. He added that the defendants have been cooperative and are remorseful and hence, asked for leniency and consideration.
Defence Counsel Rozaiman also submitted case laws.
The prosecution in reply objected to the idea of the defendants being cooperative.
The prosecution submitted that if the defendants were cooperative, they would have informed during investigations who they really are, from where and what their purpose was to enter Brunei.
"The police made extensive investigations where they had to network with Interpol, contact the Cypriot and Iranian authorities, in which basically they made extensive investigations in this well-planned crime," said the DPP.
Brief facts of the case on the offences pleaded guilty to by the defendants were read out and admitted by the defendants.
On the afternoon of November 9, 2013, Huseyn went to Chennum Goldsmith shop in Tutong with two others. One of them picked out a pair of earrings and handed it over to the defendant for him to pay for it.
Huseyn extended his wallet to a saleslady indicating that he was unsure what denominations to use. He then informed the saleslady that he wanted to see the largest Brunei denomination note which the shop had.
At about 5.23pm, the saleslady handed him a bundle of $100 notes amounting to $5,300.
Huseyn then handled the money by passing it from one hand to another. He then discreetly removed a bundle of $100 notes using his left hand, amounting to $1,800 and placed it in his pocket. He and his companions then left the shop.
At the end of the business day, the saleslady closed the accounts and realised that a sum of $1,800 was missing. Based on their sales, the amount of money that should be in the drawer should be $6,490. However there was only $4,690.
The saleslady then checked the CCTV footage and found that the first defendant whilst handling the money had stolen it. A police report was lodged at Tutong Police Station.
The defendant admitted his intention to steal the money when he entered the shop as he did not have enough cash to continue his travel to Australia.
On November 9, 2013 at about 6.30pm, Huseyn and his companions entered Bismi Trading Sdn Bhd, Gadong branch, and paid for a ladies' handbag at the counter which cost $32. Huseyn showed his wallet as he was unsure what denominations to use and the cashier removed $50.
Before the cashier could count the change to be given, Huseyn pointed at the cash register containing $100 note and said he had not seen one before and wanted to have a look.
The cashier then handed a bundle of $100 notes amounting to $2,000 and was distracted at this point by another person asking for assistance.
At this point, Huseyn took a few from the bundle he was holding and returned the the rest to the cashier.
At the end of sales day, the cashier realised $600 went missing and immediately lodged a police report.
At about 8pm the same day, the defendant and two companions picked out a black singlet from Glitter Rati Butik at Warisan Mata-Mata Complex and handed it over to the owner of the shop at the cashier counter.
Again Huseyn employed the same modus operandi and stole $300. The shop owner later realised and lodged a police report.
On the evening of November 10, 2013, Huseyn and his two companions went to Hua Ho Department Store at Yayasan SHHB Complex and paid for an item that cost $1.50 at the cash till.
Huseyn was at it again and the cashier showed a bundle of $100 notes. The defendant quickly shuffled the notes and managed to take out $1,000 from the bundle.
The cashier later realised the missing money and lodged a police report.
Police arrested all three defendants at the parking lot of Radisson Hotel in the capital at 4.20pm on November 11, 2013.
All three defendants were found in possession of Cypriot passports.
Huseyn's passport bore the name of Osman Kalayci, Fatime had the name of Sadun Sabas and Shahin as Erdal Kucuktail.
In police statements, Huseyn stated that he had planned to go to Europe with his wife, Fatime.
Being Iranians, they would have faced complications to travel with their passports due to the strict visa application process.
Having heard from his friends who have migrated to Germany, Huseyn went to Thailand and obtained forged passports at Pratunam, Bangkok, Thailand from a man named Abdul.
Huseyn paid US$4,500 for three forged passports.
The names were picked out by Abdul and the Cypriot nationality was also selected by him.