Sunday 17 December 2017

'Life partner' to offer €5k loan in trafficking case

Wei Yu, 49yrs, originally from China but a naturalised Irish citizen, pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday
Wei Yu, 49yrs, originally from China but a naturalised Irish citizen, pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday

A 49-year-old Irish national, who is wanted in Spain for alleged involvement in human trafficking, has been granted bail by the High Court.

The court heard that Wei Yu was originally from China but had become a naturalised Irish citizen.

He had been arrested by Spanish police following an incident where a number of Chinese nationals had been found to have false travel documents while attempting to fly from Alicante in Spain to Dublin in December 2011.


Yu, who is accused by the Spanish authorities of providing Chinese nationals with forged documents to allow them enter the EU, had been in custody for a short time in Spain before being granted bail by the Spanish courts.

His Irish passport had been seized by the Spanish police at the time and he had no permission to leave Spain.

Barrister Tony McGillicuddy said Yu had been living in Ireland for 15 years and had returned from Spain to Ireland in 2013 on his Chinese passport which had been given to him by his wife after his release on bail in Spain.

Earlier, the High Court was told that the Spanish authorities had issued a European Arrest Warrant seeking Yu's extradition from Ireland. The warrant stated that Yu had, in his absence, been jailed for five years by a Spanish court.

Yu was arrested last month by the gardai on foot of the European Arrest Warrant and was brought before the High Court in Dublin where he was remanded in custody until today.

The court heard that since he had been sentenced in absentia by a Spanish judge, he would be entitled to seek to have that sentence annulled if extradited to Spain.


Mr McGillicuddy, for Yu, said his client had notified the Irish authorities of his presence in the State when he had returned to Ireland and of pending court proceedings against him in Spain.

He currently resides at an address in Limerick with his landlord, David Meade, who was described in court as Yu's life partner by Sergeant Jim Kirwan, who is attached to the Garda Extradition Unit.

Sergeant Kirwan said Yu and his wife, who lived at a different address from her husband, were still married and "were still on speaking terms" with each other.

Meade said in evidence it would not be true to describe Yu as his life partner but they were very close and had known each other for 15 years. He knew that Yu's wife ran a takeaway restaurant in Limerick and he (Meade) was willing to act as an independent surety if Yu was granted bail.

The State opposed Yu's bail application on the basis he was a flight risk as he had left Spain without permission.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan said Yu had disclosed his address openly since he had come back to Ireland in 2013. He had ties in Ireland as his wife and their son were living here.

The judge remanded Yu in custody, with consent to €10,000 bail, until the hearing of the case at the end of the month. Meade said he would loan Yu €5,000.

Judge Noonan made orders freezing two bank accounts which were in Yu's name. He was directed to sign on three times a week at Henry Street Garda Station in Limerick.

Yu will remain in custody until the €10,000 bail term is met.


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