Courts

Saturday 2 August 2014

Convicted human trafficker to face further sanctions in China

JIM CUSACK

Published 21/07/2013|04:00

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A CHINESE man convicted last week of trafficking teenage boys into slave labour in Irish and British restaurants will be deported to China where he is set face a substantial jail sentence.

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Song Bo He, 32, formerly of Blackhall Place, Dublin, pleaded guilty to human trafficking offences regarding the smuggling of nine under-age victims into Ireland between 2006 and 2009.

He came to the attention of gardai in 2009 after 39 unaccompanied Chinese teenagers who arrived at Dublin Airport without documentation disappeared from HSE hostels. Most remained unaccounted for.

As part of an investigation into the missing youths, gardai raided Song's apartment in July 2009, where they found one of the teenage boys reported missing by the HSE. They also found four other young men and fake identity documents.

Song absconded but was tracked to Mexico in 2010. The Mexican authorities extradited him to Ireland in September last year and he has been in custody since.

After pleading guilty to the charges on Friday, he received a three-year suspended sentence, but will remain in custody for his scheduled deportation in September.

Chinese citizens who are convicted of crimes and are deported back to China face severe additional sentences for having tarnished the nation's reputation abroad.

Detectives were able to build up a picture of the smuggling route, which involved transporting child slave labourers through the Gulf States and Italy and then into Ireland.

Since Song's arrest in 2009, there have been no further reports of under-age and undocumented Chinese nationals arriving here and disappearing from HSE care.

Dublin Central Criminal Court was told that Song participated in the trafficking by arranging transport and accommodation for the youths when they arrived in Ireland. Another Chinese restaurant owner was previously convicted under labour laws in relation to the trafficked children.

Song admitted he received between €10,000 and €15,000 from other Chinese business people, mostly restaurant owners, for each slave labourer he brought to Dublin.

Irish Independent

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