Belfast Telegraph

Chinese duo will be deported when jail terms for drugs end

Judge Patricia Smyth accepted both Pan and Gao
Judge Patricia Smyth accepted both Pan and Gao "acted under instruction" (stock photo)

By Ashleigh McDonald

A man and woman will be deported to their native China after serving a prison sentence for drugs offences, a court has heard.

Mei Juan Gao (38) and Chun Guo Pan (49), both of no fixed abode, were sentenced at Belfast Crown Court yesterday for their part in a drugs operation.

While Gao was given a 30-month sentence, her co-accused Pan received a 20-month sentence.

Half of their sentences will be spent on licence.

The pair were arrested in Belfast last year and admitted several charges including conspiracy to supply a class B drug.

Prosecutor Simon Jenkins said that on August 8, 2018 police attended an address at St Albans Gardens after receiving information drugs were being moved.

Officers observed Gao leaving the property and getting into a taxi carrying a large bag. Police stopped the taxi and Gao was found to have 9kgs of cannabis.

Keys for a flat at Ulsterville Avenue were also seized from her, and there police discovered a further 4kgs of cannabis and a fake Chinese passport.

While officers were conducting the search Pan entered the property. He also had keys to a second property, and when that was searched a further 26kgs of cannabis was located.

When Gao was arrested she said she would be contacted and told to go to a hotel and pick up packages. She said she used fake ID and was paid £500 for each package she picked up.

CCTV from the properties showed Pan carrying a holdall. He accepted taking the bag from the address to an unknown male in the city centre.

Mr Jenkins said Pan also made the case that he was "employed to do things by others", with police concluding that Pan "was involved in monitoring or distributing" the cannabis.

Neil Connor QC, representing Gao, said she came to the UK illegally "for economic reasons" and that any money made was sent back to her mother and teenage daughter in China.

Mr Connor said Gao "will be returning to China as soon as possible" and will not be fighting deportation proceedings.

Pan's barrister Brian McCartney QC said his client was a father-of-two who also wanted to go back to China. He described Pan as a vulnerable man with a gambling habit who was exploited by others, adding he played a small role in a bigger enterprise.

Judge Patricia Smyth accepted both Pan and Gao "acted under instruction". She jailed the pair and issued a destruction order for the drugs.

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