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Chef accused of transporting 20 kilos of cannabis seized at Belfast airport thought suitcases were full of cigarettes, court told


Belfast High Court. Photo: Peter Morrison

Belfast High Court. Photo: Peter Morrison

Belfast High Court. Photo: Peter Morrison

A chef accused of transporting more than 20 kilos of cannabis seized at Belfast International Airport claimed he thought his suitcases were full of cigarettes, the High Court heard today.

Kaman Wan also told police he had previously made up to four similar trips from his home in London.

The 51-year-old was arrested after the illicit consignment with an estimated street value of £138,000 was discovered at the airport on July 17.

Wan, of Scales Road in London, was refused bail on a charge of possessing Class B drugs with intent to supply.

Prosecution counsel Fiona O’Kane said police were alerted when a pungent smell of cannabis was detected coming from luggage he brought on a flight from the capital.

Searches of the two suitcases located 23 kilos in vacuum-sealed bags.

When approached by officers, Wan enquired: “Are you speaking to me about the drugs?”

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But during interviews the accused instead claimed that he understood the luggage contained only tobacco.

Wan told police a “mysterious” man he met randomly on the street near his home had asked him to bring suitcases to Northern Ireland on several occasions in recent weeks, the court heard.

He had travelled to Belfast and taken taxis to an address where suitcases which he never opened were delivered before flying back to London, according to that account.

“He said he was given £300-£400 for his role as a courier,” Mrs O’Kane disclosed.

Opposing his bid to be released from custody, the prosecutor argued that the seizure is linked to an organised crime gang.

Defence barrister Stephen Law argued that Wan had cooperated with the authorities by revealing it had been either his third or fourth trip.

“He saw an opportunity to raise £300 per transportation of what he believed were cigarettes,” Mr Law said.

“This is no master criminal; he has to a certain degree been duped into taking these drugs across.”

Dismissing Wan’s application for bail, Mr Justice Humphreys indicated an address in Northern Ireland would be required to deal with the risk of flight.

The judge added: “The applicant was (allegedly) a willing participant in the importation of a very significant amount of drugs, and it wasn’t the first time he engaged in that same activity.”

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