independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Drug growers were locked up like slaves

'Masters' of Chinese pair would arrive every ten days with food and cigarettes for prisoners in huge Rathcormac cannabis farm

TWO Chinese nationals were kept as virtual slaves at an industrial-sized drug grow house in Rathcormac after running up debts to their 'masters'.

The two men were discovered tendering 836 cannabis plants worth almost €670,000 in a warehouse near the village that was raided by gardai last November.

The two men, described by gardai as 'gardeners', were jailed last week, but are to be deported.

One of the men, Xinyu He (33) had borrowed €10,000 from other members of the Chinese community to set up an acupuncture business that had failed.

He and Ming Feng Chen (32), who owed €10,000 to other Chinese that had brought him to Ireland, were locked in the warehouse when one of their 'masters' would call every 10-days to bring them food and cigarettes.

Jailing He, Judge Patrick Moran said it was appalling that the men could have been held in virtual slavery in modern Ireland.

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