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Traffick claim man 'dined on crab and wine'

A Chinese peasant farmer's son, who claims he was brutally trafficked into Ireland, was pictured on his €500 iPhone eating crab and drinking red wine at a function in Dublin, the High Court was told.

The 36-year-old man, who cannot be named for his own safety, has been charged with drugs offences following a raid on a Dublin city centre cannabis growhouse.

PLANTS

HE CLAIMS HE WAS LOCKED INTO THE HOUSE IN HENRIETTA STREET, DUBLIN, TO WATER PLANTS HE DID NOT REALISE WERE CANNABIS PLANTS UNTIL HE WAS ARRESTED BY GARDAI IN NOVEMBER 2012.

Barrister Kieran Kelly, counsel for the State, told the court that inconsistencies in the man's evidence suggested he was actually an economic migrant.

Feargal Kavanagh, SC, counsel for the man, told the court at a habeas corpus application for his release on grounds that the State was failing in its legal obligations to trafficking victims by prosecuting them for offences carried out under duress.

The man told the court he was forced by "snakeheads", Chinese gangs that smuggle people across state borders, to work as a farmhand in the growhouse.

The Chinese man, who cannot speak English, claimed that he had been forced to work in the growhouse to repay a debt owed by his family in China.

They had borrowed the equivalent of €20,000 in 2011 and when his father could not repay it, death threats were made to the family.

Ultimately a group of men arrived at his house in China and told him that unless he travelled abroad to repay the debt, people would die.

Since arriving in Ireland, most of his pay had been taken to repay the family debt.

LAPTOP

HE TOLD MR KELLY HE HAD BOUGHT A SECOND-HAND LAPTOP AND THE IPHONE 4 FROM HIS EMPLOYERS IN THE RESTAURANTS WHO DEDUCTED MONEY FROM WHAT WAS LEFT OF HIS WAGES.

Mr Kelly was yesterday cross-examining the man about his iPhone photos, which included a visit to Jury's hotel in Galway and meals, including crab and wine, with people in Dublin.

The Article 40 application for his release is being heard by Mr Justice Gerard Hogan.

hnews@herald.ie


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