Point Cook couple faces court accused of harbouring a slave

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A Point Cook couple has faced court accused of keeping a slave in a western suburbs home after medical staff contacted police with concerns a woman may have been a victim of human trafficking.

Angie Yeh Ling Liaw, 29, and Chee Kit Chong, 44 – also known as Max Chong – faced Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday charged with three slavery-related offences.

Angie Yeh Ling Liaw (left) and Chee Kit Chong – known as Max Chong – have been charged with slavery offences.

They include allegations the married couple possessed a slave and used coercion and threats to control the female at their home in Melbourne’s west.

Liaw’s lawyer Payne Wu asked magistrate Andrew McKenna to adjourn the matter to a hearing next month as his legal firm was working to determine whether it could represent both husband and wife, or whether conflicts of interest may arise.

The court heard while Chong was charged in November, his wife was not charged until April after the police case was reviewed.

McKenna also questioned whether the alleged victim now faced being deported or placed on a proper visa to allow her to remain in the Australia.

Police arrest one of the accused over allegations they kept a slave at their Point Cook home.

Police said the couple were charged with modern-day slavery offences after allegedly keeping a female victim in domestic servitude at their Point Cook home between January and October 2022.

An Australian Federal Police spokesperson said officers began investigating the case late last year after receiving a tip-off from healthcare staff, who raised concerns about a woman they believed may have been trafficked.

Search warrants were executed on a home in Point Cook on October 27, before Chong was charged with possessing a slave, using coercion and threats to cause another person to enter into and remain in servitude, and exercising control over a slave.

Liaw was charged in April with the same three offences.

Police escorting one of the alleged offenders accused of keeping a slave at their Point Cook home.

Investigators allege the couple exercised coercive control over the other woman while subjecting her to physical assaults and controlling her movements.

McKenna ordered the pair, who remain on bail, to return to court in June.

The court heard medical staff who came into contact with the victim could be among witnesses to give evidence at a later hearing

If convicted, Chong and Liaw each face up to 25 years in jail.

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