Coyote 'helped' Chinese illegal workers

Published Wednesday, 13 February 2013
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Chinese workers illegally smuggled into Northern Ireland were allegedly collected every week from a motorway junction, the High Court has heard.

Coyote 'helped' Chinese illegal workers
The accused denies the charges. (© UTV)

A man known only as Coyote arranged for them to be collected and taken to their destination, it was claimed.

Police investigating the suspected racket later discovered three illegal immigrants at houses in Co Fermanagh, including two sleeping in a garage, prosecutors said.

Details emerged as bail was refused to a takeaway boss accused of organising the pick-ups.

Di Chang Huang, 38, of Coleshill Crescent, Enniskillen, faces three charges of assisting unlawful immigration and two counts of having more than £10,000 in criminal property.

He denies the offences and claims the cash was roulette winnings.

The court heard on Wednesday how Huang and two other men were in a car stopped by police on the M1 motorway on 20 January. One of them claimed he had entered the UK illegally after being trafficked into the Republic of Ireland.

Prosecuting lawyer David McClean said: "The driver of the vehicle indicated to police he was being paid £100 to collect illegal workers from the junction of the M1 and M12 every Sunday by a male he only knew as Coyote, who contacted him by telephone."

Huang is alleged to have been that facilitator, based on an examination of mobile phone calls.

Three days later he was stopped in a car in Lisnaskea and found to be in possession of more than £9,000 in cash, the court heard.

Searches were then carried out at his house and the Enniskillen home of another man linked to him on 4 February.

Police discovered £1,500 in sterling and euro, and a Gucci watch valued at £750.

A Chinese man, who claimed he was brought illegally into Northern Ireland and taken to Enniskillen, was found there as well.

In the second property, two more men were said to have been discovered sleeping in the garage. Huang was arrested and told police he had won the cash from bookmakers.

Defence lawyer Michael Ward said his client claimed to have gone on a successful roulette gambling spree.

"That would appear to account for the rather large sum of money. Roulette odds can be very high - up to 37/1 as I understand," Mr Ward told the court.

Huang, who runs a Chinese takeaway in Enniskillen, has been living in Northern Ireland for 13 years, according to his barrister.

He claimed to have met the driver of the car stopped on the motorway at the Asian market in Belfast, but had no idea the other passenger was an illegal entrant.

Mr Ward added: "He made the case that it is rude for Chinese people to ask one another whether they are legal or not because there is a stigma attached to this."

However, Mr Justice Burgess refused the bail application, citing the risk of any possible further offences.

© UTV News
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