11 Apr 2011

Delay in ruling in Tonga human trafficking case

3:17 pm on 11 April 2011

The ruling in Tonga's first case of human trafficking has been adjourned by the Supreme Court until April 26th.

The court registrar says the delay came after a request from defence lawyer, Laki Niu, who said he'd been busy focussing on the Ashika trial, and needed more time to review his client's case.

Liu Lirong, a Chinese national has pleaded not guilty to seven counts, including four of trafficking, one of brothel keeping and two counts of trading in prostitution.

The complainants, two Chinese women, told the court that Liu had forced them into prostitution.

In Tonga, the maximum penalty for trafficking persons is imprisonment of up to 25 years.