4 Chinese remanded 3 days over caning Kenyan worker

Monday February 10 2020

Chinese in court over caning Kenyan worker.

The four Chinese nationals at the Milimani Law Courts on February 10, 2020, accused of caning a Kenyan worker at Chez Wou Restaurant in Kenya's capital Nairobi. PHOTO | JOSEPH WANGUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JOSEPH WANGUI
By JOSEPH WANGUI
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Four Chinese migrant workers who were arrested after a widely circulated video showed one caning a Kenyan worker in Nairobi have been remanded three days.

The four are Deng Hailan, suspected to have caned the Kenyan waiter, Chang Yueping, Ou Qiang and Yu Ling.

Milimani Principal Magistrate Hellen Okwany said on Monday that they will be detained for that period, pending the court's ruling on whether to give police 21 days to complete the probe.

Simon Osako Silo filed a report at the local police station, accusing Deng of assaulting him on February 2 for reporting late to work.

He also said he was dismissed without pay.

KEY QUESTIONS

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The Chinese nationals were arrested alongside eight Kenyans, after officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) raided the establishment on Sunday.

They were taken to Kilimani Police Station for interrogation.

Corporal Noah Kiplagat, from Kilimani DCI office, said the suspects will likely face charges of causing bodily harm and conducting business in Kenya without valid immigration documents.

The officer further said the investigation, which has been extended to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), is focused on the suspects' failure to comply with conditions imposed by a tourist visa.

At the KRA, the detectives will establish whether the foreigners have been filing tax returns, while at Nairobi County, they will check licensing of their restaurant business.

The detectives also want to establish whether the four are in Kenya illegally.

Mr Kiplagat further noted that they were yet to trace the complainant and record his statement since he went home after being dismissed.

WORK PERMITS

While seeking the 21-day detention, the officer added that the foreigners were likely to interfere with witnesses and were flight risks.

Police said Deng is a chef at Chez Wou Restaurant in Kileleshwa, a suburb in the capital Nairobi.

Following his arrest, it emerged that he had a visitor's pass but did not have a valid work permit.

Chang and Ou, who are also chefs at the hotel, hold expired holiday visas.

Chang has a work permit but Ou, whose visa expired in December 2019, does not, according to the DCI.

Yu, a cashier at the hotel, has a visitor’s visa that expired in November 2019 and does not have a work permit.

DEFENCE

The suspects urged the court to dismiss the application on grounds that people are deemed innocent until proven guilty.

They further said the video did not include the incident's context.

“Until both sides are heard, much premium should not be paid to the video. The application undermines fundamental rights and the freedom of movement," they said through their lawyer.

A ruling will be delivered on Thursday.

THE VIDEO

In the video clip that sparked outrage among Kenyans, the Chinese man suspected to be Deng is seen telling the Kenyan worker to lie on his stomach for caning.

The man then descends on him with several strokes on his back as colleagues watch from a distance and laugh. The victim is heard groaning in pain.

The Chinese embassy in Kenya said it supported thorough police investigations into the incident, in line with Kenya's laws.

"Whoever (is) violating the law will face legal consequences," the embassy tweeted.

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