The two Chinese men accused of stealing more than $10,000 from the Bank of the South Pacific through the Automated Teller Machine (A.T.M.) have been granted bail.
Zhong Shuiming and Yang Quigreen, represented by lawyer, Alex Su’a, will find out today where they will stay. The men have been behind bars since early September when they were arrested and charged.
The decision to grant them bail was made by Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu on Monday. Lawyers Ofisa Tagaloa and Lucy Sio represented the National Prosecution Office.
When the bail application was made, Mr. Su’a said his clients were suffering insomnia at the Tafaigata cell where they were kept with 18 other prisoners.
“They have been arrested and have remained in custody since 24th August,” he said. “There is also a condition of prohibition to use cell phones and they have not been able to contact their families. I seek an application for bail to be granted on condition that I will advise the Court on.”
But the prosecution strongly objected.
“Our concern was that since the charges originated from the duplication of credit cards, the prosecution is of the belief there is an opportunity the accused might do the same or forged a reproduction of their passports,” said Ms. Sio.
The prosecution was also concerned about the men making contact with witnesses.
But Mr. Su’a disagreed, saying the concerns were unfounded.
In the end, Chief Justice Patu granted the application for bail.
The accused men are originally from the province of Shangze.
They left China on the 21 August 2016, traveled through Fiji before arriving in Samoa with the intention to return on 28 September 2016.