Malaysian national caught with €120k of cannabis at Dublin Airport

Malaysian national caught with €120k of cannabis at Dublin Airport

A Malaysian national who was caught at Dublin Airport with €120,000 worth of cannabis in a suitcase has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Garda Eamonn Taffe told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that Kum Hoong Kwong (50), had travelled to Dublin on a one way ticket from Barcelona on 13 October 2016.

As the accused passed through immigration at Dublin airport he was stopped by a Revenue officer, who asked to examine his luggage.

Martina Baxter BL, prosecuting, said that when the accused opened his locked suitcase there was “an abundance of mothballs presumably in an attempt to mask a very strong smell of cannabis”.

The accused had photographs of Dublin and Belfast in his backpack, and told gardai they were given to him “in case he was caught” in an effort to “fool authorities into thinking he was travelling to Ireland on holidays.”

A search revealed the accused had €750, stg£400 and some Malaysian currency on his person. He told gardai that he had been promised €1,000 for his part in the drug trafficking operation.

The court heard that the accused had a serious gambling problem and had amassed debts of €50,000. He met an individual in a bar in Barcelona and was persuaded to take part in the drug run.

In sentencing the accused to five years with the final two suspended, Judge Melanie Greally said she was cognisant of the fact that he had given “very full admissions” and had no previous convictions.

Ms Baxter told the court that Hoong Kwong travelled to Spain to look for work within the Chinese community in Barcelona. He had previously worked in construction and as a mechanic in his native country but had recently become unemployed.

Dominic McGinn BL, defending, told the court that the accused co-operated with gardai at every stage of the investigation, and provided them with the phone number that he was instructed to call when he reached Belfast after spending a night in Dublin.

The court heard that Hoong Kwong had been “a model prisoner” and had used his time in detention in a productive manner.

Judge Greally noted that he was “far from home in a foreign country where he does not speak the language”.

She said that “the accused was undoubtedly at the lower end of the hierarchy in this scenario.”