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Pair charged after allegedly keeping woman as domestic slave in Melbourne



A couple has been charged with modern-day slavery offences after allegedly keeping a woman as a domestic slave at their home in Melbourne's south-west.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) allege the couple "exercised coercive control" over the woman, physically assaulted and controlled the victim's movements between January and October 2022.

It's alleged Chee Kit "Max" Chong, 44, and Angie Liaw, 29, kept a woman in domestic servitude at their Point Cook home.

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The couple faced Melbourne Magistrates Court today where Liaw's lawyer, Payne Wu, said he had not yet determined if he was also acting for Chong.

Authorities began investigating the couple in October last year after they received a report from a healthcare worker about the victim showing signs of human trafficking.

Police raided the Point Cook property on October 27 last year.

The man and woman have both been charged with possessing a slave, using coercion and threats to cause another person to enter into and remain in servitude and having control over a slave.

The pair face a maximum penalty of 25 years' imprisonment if convicted.

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Wu said he hoped to reach a decision on representing Chong in the next week or so.

Chong told the court he believed he and his wife already shared the same lawyer, but would find another if needed.

He appeared by video-link wearing a blue jumper in a white-walled room, while Liaw appeared from inside a car.

Commonwealth prosecutor Zoe Hough said their alleged victim was a vulnerable adult, who would not be required to give evidence at a committal hearing against them.

But the court heard other witnesses may include people who interacted with the alleged victim at a hospital or medical centre she attended.

Their case was adjourned for a further committal mention on June 19.

Chong and Liaw are both on bail.

– Reported with AAP

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