Belfast Telegraph

Holywood dad-of-two had £34k and cannabis stashed in his home, court told

By Ashleigh McDonald

A businessman from Holywood has been refused bail over concerns he is linked to a "fairly significant drugs operation".

He Li, a father-of-two from Kinnegar Court, was arrested on Easter Monday on suspicion of converting criminal property.

The 34-year-old was already facing two charges dating back to February 6 - possessing cannabis and concealing criminal property - when he was arrested on suspicion of a further offence.

Li appeared at Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday, where an unsuccessful application was made for bail.

Prior to rejecting the application, District Judge Amanda Henderson was told by an investigating officer: "I believe I can connect the accused to all the charges before the court."

The court heard Li was first arrested on February 6 after a vehicle was stopped in an Asda car park. The two men in the vehicle - one of whom was Li - were arrested on suspicion of a drugs offence, and two addresses were later searched.

During the search at Li's home in Holywood, officers recovered a small amount of herbal cannabis, along with around £30,000.

When arrested, Li gave a largely 'no comment' response about the money and denied knowledge about the cannabis.

He was released on bail but was arrested again on Monday when his home was searched "on foot of information received by police".

During this second search, the investigating officer said three separate amounts of cash totalling £34,370 were found in three separate locations.

Around £5,000 was in a freezer, £900 under a microwave and £28,478 in a bag on top of a wardrobe.

Also seized were mobile phones and handwritten notes in Chinese, passport documents, and an image take from a mobile phone which suggested Li had received money lodgements from a man police believe is also a Chinese national.

Objecting to bail, the officer said: "We feel he is likely to re-offend, given that over two months we have recovered over £60,000 in cash which we can link directly to Mr Li.

"During interview, he failed to give a valid account as to where this money has come from."

The officer also raised a concern about a risk of flight, explaining that even though Li's passport is currently with the Home Office, "the fact he was in possession of false passport documents leads us to believe he may be able to secure a false passport elsewhere".

A lawyer for Li said both his young children go to a local primary school, his wife and parents both live in Northern Ireland and "he has no intention of going anywhere".

Asking for Li to be released on bail, the solicitor said he could be located at his home address any time, adding he would report daily to police and be tagged.

Refusing bail, Ms Henderson expressed concerns about Li reoffending due to potential links with a "fairly significant drugs operation".

Belfast Telegraph


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