Mystery surrounds identity of Chinese man arrested in Limerick

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Solicitor John Herbert said his client 'is who he says he is'
A CHINESE man who was arrested during an operation targeting the importation of illicit cigarettes has been jailed for immigration offences.

A CHINESE man who was arrested during an operation targeting the importation of illicit cigarettes has been jailed for immigration offences.

Limerick District Court was told the defendant gave his name as Feng Yu (29) when he was detained by gardai on August 29, last following an operation led by Revenue’s Customs Service.

A package containing 12,000 ‘Septwolf’ cigarettes, which was posted to an address in the city, was seized during the operation after it was detected by sniffer dog, Harvey.

The defendant was arrested by gardai after suspicion emerged about his identity.

Detective Garda Fergal Hanrahan said while a person with the same name and date of birth exists on the garda Pulse system, the 
authorities “actually have no idea who he is” despite extensive inquiries.

The defendant’s fingerprints, he added, are a match to another person on the “immigration system”.

The defendant did not produce a passport or travel documents following his arrest and efforts to confirm his identity have proven unsuccessful to date.

Judge Eugene O’Kelly was told gardai believe the defendant was the subject of a previous deportation order after he was convicted of a similar offence in Dublin.

However, Det Garda Hanrahan said this was never “followed through”.

Solicitor John Herbert said his client “is who he says he is” but that he has been unable to provide documentation to confirm this.

Mr Herbert added that Mr Yu has begun the process of applying for asylum in this country.

Imposing sentence, Judge O’Kelly said he was satisfied Mr Yu is “making deliberate efforts to concede his identity” and he said he believes he supplied the name, Feng Yu, to gardai “consciously knowing he has no paperwork to support it”.

He added that he is satisfied the defendant has used a number of different names in the past and that he has not assisted the authorities in their efforts to confirm his identity.

He imposed a ten month prison sentence, backdating it to the end of August - when he first appeared in court.