Chinese university student third charged after Ulster cannabis raids

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The alleged owners of a hospital in China are under investigation in connection with a £350,000 cannabis seizure in Northern Ireland, a court heard today.

As a university student arrested in London appeared on drugs trafficking and money laundering charges, police said her multi-millionaire parents were also suspects in the ongoing probe.

Tong Lu, 19, is accused of conspiracy to supply Class B drugs, concealing criminal property and encouraging or assisting others into committing offences.

She was detained at her Iverna Gardens, Kensington home at the weekend as part of a PSNI operation against drugs importation.

Lu is the third woman to be charged since cannabis was discovered during raids in Belfast, Larne and Co Down earlier this month.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard she has close family ties with China.

Opposing her bail application, a detective said: “Police believe her parents, who are also suspects in this investigation, currently reside there where they have significant assets in the multi-million pound bracket.

“They own property and could provide means for travel for this applicant.”

A defence lawyer confirmed her client came from a wealthy family who could provide a bail surety.

“They own a hospital in China,” she told the court.

Neither of Lu’s parents has been charged with any offence.

The detective claimed that several people involved in lodging cash into an account connected to her have yet to be identified.

He said around £50,000 was lodged in one week last month.

During cross-examination he said financial documents were found at Lu’s home, but no drugs or false identity papers.

According to the defence she is only linked to the investigation by one bank account.

The court heard she co-operated fully with police, even taking the “very difficult” step of providing her mother’s full details.

District Judge Ken Nixon was told Lu had been working in London for the summer before returning to her university course in Manchester.

“She finds herself distraught to be in this situation,” her solicitor added.

But refusing bail Mr Nixon held there was a risk she might flee.

Lu was remanded into custody to appear again by video-link on August 7.