A Burmese man accused of making indecent remarks and sexual hand gestures towards children has been remanded in custody amid concerns he might flee the country.
Lerwick Sheriff Court heard yesterday that Lon Sai, 30, of the Castle Cafe Takeaway in Scalloway, had entered the UK illegally and held three different false passports.
Defence agent Chris Dowle said Mr Lon, who was seeking asylum, was subject to “parallel proceedings” by the UK Border Agency, which were likely to lead to his detention.
“There are provisions in relation to the alleged immigration offence whereby he can be detained, and he has received papers ordering his detention,” Mr Dowle said. “Mr Lon is resisting any proceedings that have been started in regard to the alleged passport matters.”
Mr Lon is accused of misbehaving in the cafe during December and January, sometimes allowing other youngsters to hear what was being said. He is also accused of sexually assaulting two children by touching their buttocks.
Mr Lon pleaded not guilty to all charges and trial was fixed for 24th February, with an intermediate diet on 23rd February.
Bail was opposed by procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie. He said Mr Lon had paid a broker to arrange entry into the country for him.
Mr MacKenzie said Mr Lon had received a false Chinese passport, and police had found him in possession of two other false passports. “Should he be released the fear is he will simply disappear,” he said.
Mr Dowle argued having the passports was the only way for Lon to remove himself from the country he was in. “The point I would make is that there can not be any objection to bail in these proceedings given the armoury of remedies the Crown has, or the Border Agency has, in relation to the immigration matters.”
However, Mr MacKenzie argued the Border Agency could not take any action “until these matters have concluded”. No-one from the agency was in court at the time. He added that Mr Lon had yet to claim asylum.
Mr Dowle insisted he had seen the papers Mr Lon had received. He said: “My submission is the border agency will detain Mr Lon until this case is concluded, or until the parallel proceedings are disposed of.”
Sheriff Graeme Napier told Mr Dowle: “While I’m not disputing that some papers might have been served, the reality is if I release him on bail he will be released from court, and there is nothing in what you have said to indicate he does not have three different passports.”
Addressing Mr Lon, the sheriff said: “In these circumstances, I don’t think the public interest can take the risk of you not turning up for trial, and you will be remanded in custody.”
Mr Lon had already spent Thursday night in the cells. His case was due to be heard on Thursday, but a mix-up meant no interpreter was available on that day.