Eleven held in £16m crime gang cash laundering probe
Eleven people have been arrested as part of a £16m money laundering investigation that police have linked to Chinese organised crime gangs in Northern Ireland.
Six properties were also searched across Belfast in the operation carried out yesterday by officers from the PSNI's Economic Crime Unit.
All of the suspects were last night in police custody for questioning.
Detective Chief Inspector Ian Wilson said: "Together with officers from neighbourhood and local policing teams, and colleagues from PSNI's Operational Support Department, we carried out a large scale search and arrest operation targeting individuals suspected of money laundering through bank accounts.
"Six men aged 67, 48, 44, 42, 41 and 35, and five women aged 60, 38, 36, 34 and 32 were arrested during today's operation which was supported by partners in the National Crime Agency, Immigration Enforcement and Border Force and is part of UK-wide operation, led by the National Economic Crime Centre.
"During our investigation we identified that a significant volume of suspected criminal cash was being laundered out of the country through a number of bank accounts held here in Northern Ireland.
"In total, almost £16m has been deposited to thousands of bank accounts across the UK from the accounts since January 2018.
"We believe that the majority of this money is derived from a range of criminal activity carried out by Chinese organised crime groups. Money laundering is often a critical enabler of organised criminality and today's operation is part of a wider ongoing investigation.
"We are committed to keeping people safe by robustly pursuing those who are involved in laundering criminally derived money and enabling criminals to access the profits gained from their involvement in a range of illegal activities.
"I would appeal for anyone with any information on this type of activity to contact Police on 101 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."