FOUR GUILTY OF TRAFFICKING
73-yr-old facing jail for plot to get people through port on wrong passports:
FOUR Vietnamese people are facing jail after being found guilty of people trafficking in North Wales.
Described as an organised group, they used valid passports in a bid to get other people through immigration.
Thi Lien Nguyen was found guilty of conspiring with others to breach immigration law following an 11-day trial at Caernarfon Crown Court.
The 73-year-old, of Evelyn Street, Lewisham, London, was described as the head of the conspiracy.
Her son, Kevin Lam, 35, of Peckford Place, Lambeth, London, was also found guilty.
The jury also convicted Hoa Thi Le, 59, Pomeroy Street, Lewisham, London, and Ha Thuy Pham, 31, of Stanley Road, West Bromwich, Birmingham.
A fifth defendant, Tony Do, 21, of Kashmir Road, London, whose passport was said to have been used in the conspiracy was cleared of the charge.
Adjourning sentence, Judge Niclas Parry remanded the four in custody.
During the trial, the jury heard the Home Office carried out an investigation known as Operation Hyrax.
The case concerned the UK end of an organised crime group involved in the trafficking of Vietnamese nationals into the UK. It was done via the EU using the identities of genuine UK passport holders.
The case involved the entry, or attempted entry, into the UK of three people.
A young Vietnamese woman called Ha Le Ho arrived at Holyhead Port in Anglesey from Ireland in November 2015, using the name of Hoa Le Thi but presenting the passport of another woman.
Simon Mills, prosecuting, said Thi Lien Nguyen had made a series of calls to the woman and sent her text messages. Travel arrangements were made for flights from Vienna to Dublin.
“On November 5, 2015, Dublin airport CCTV footage shows Thi Lien Nguyen, in a wheelchair, with three others. She was allowed into Ireland, and got up out of the wheelchair and walks away.
“Ha Le Ho got through the border, and is seen the same day at Dublin Ferryport with two women. When Ha Le Ho arrives at the Port of Holyhead, she was referring to herself by the name of the fourth defendant, Hoa Le Thi, but presenting a passport in the name of another woman.”
The man with them at Dublin Airport was carrying Tony Do’s passport.
Mr Mills told the jury: “This person was refused entry into the UK and not detained, so he has disappeared into thin air. We do not know who he was, but we do know he was using Tony Do’s passport, and that he was not entitled to.”
Prosecutors argued the group ran a commercial operation and Thi Lien Nguyen was said to have dedicated enormous amounts of time, effort and travel around the world to organise the flouting of immigration law by Vietnamese people.
Hoa Le Thi was said to have allowed her identity to be used in the travel of another Vietnamese woman, who was carrying a photo of her passport and using her name.
She said she didn’t know how this came about.
Kevin Lam took money and made travel bookings for his mother Thi Lien Nguyen. He claimed he did these things for her in good faith.
Ha Thuy Pham was involved in the travel arrangements of a second woman.
The jury heard another defendant, Thuy Thi Thanh Nguyen, 59, of Lewisham, London, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.
Thi Lien Nguyen at Caernarfon Crown Court, and below, her son Kevin Lam