Teen stopped at Belfast airport with suitcase of cannabis claimed stranger gave him £200 to travel with it, court hears
A teenager stopped at a Belfast airport with a suitcase containing 12.5 kilos of cannabis claimed a stranger gave him to £200 to travel with it, a court heard on Wednesday.
Jovy Wong is accused of trying to smuggle the drugs into Northern Ireland from Spain.
The 19-year-old Malaysian national was detained at George Best Belfast City Airport on Monday after he arrived on a flight from Glasgow.
A judge was told he had been on a "trip of a lifetime" around Europe.
Wong, of no fixed address, was remanded in custody on a charge of being concerned in the importation of Class B drugs.
During the hearing at Belfast Magistrates' Court his lawyer challenged the evidence connecting him to his alleged role in bringing drugs across international jurisdictions.
A National Crime Agency officer said Wong had flown from Alicante to Newcastle in England, before travelling by train to Glasgow and then on to Belfast.
He accepted there is no current evidence Wong had the cannabis when he left Spain, but described his route as "rather convoluted".
Wong claimed a complete stranger approached him in Glasgow Airport, asked if he was flying to Belfast and would he take a suitcase to Belfast for a £200 payment.
Defence solicitor Gary Adair argued, however, that his client left Malaysia after saving up to travel around Europe on a gap-year.
"This was the trip of a lifetime for him, but he made the mistake to take this suitcase for a gentleman at Glasgow Airport," Mr Adair said.
"There's no evidence that he crossed an international border with this substance."
Despite his submissions, District Judge Fiona Bagnall held there was enough evidence to connect Wong to the charge.
With no application for bail, he was remanded in custody to appear again by video link on August 30.
Belfast Telegraph Digital