Airline worker facing immigration charges 'has links with organised criminals'

Three men are accused of alleged trafficking and immigration offences at Dublin Airport
Brian Hutton, Press Association

AN airline worker accused in connection with an alleged international human trafficking operation has associations with organised criminals, a court has been told.

Three men have been remanded in custody in connection with alleged trafficking and immigration offences at Dublin Airport.

Aer Lingus employees Peter Kernan (56) with an address at Old Rectory Lodge, Celbridge, Co Kildare, and Frederick Cham (61) with an address at Railway Cottages, Hazelhatch, Co Kildare, were each charged with two counts under Section 2 of the Illegal Immigrants Trafficking Act 2000.

The alleged offences occurred on January 9 and January 22.

A third man, Xing Wang (28) of no fixed address in China, has been charged with immigration offences.

An officer from the Garda National Immigration Bureau told Dublin District Court that Mr Kernan and others allegedly helped to allow the illegal entry into the state of non-nationals by bypassing airport control and allowing them to exit the airport.

It is alleged money was paid for this to happen.

Mr Kernan made no reply when the charges were put to him after his arrest, the court was told.

The officer told the court he would object to any bail application by Mr Kernan because of the seriousness of the charges and his association with organised criminal gangs who have access to false documents.

A considerable sum of money was seized from the accused in recent days, the officer said.

The court was told that a proposed surety offered for Mr Kernan's bail had been withdrawn because of publicity around the case.

A solicitor for the divorced father of two, whose new partner was in court, said his family are trying to pull money together to meet bail conditions.

Judge Cormac Dunne remanded Mr Kernan in custody until January 31 to agree bail.

Conditions would include the accused's own bond of €2,000 as well as an independent €20,000 surety in cash – or two sureties of €10,000 – to be approved by the court, the judge said.

Mr Kernan, dressed in a brown jacket, green shirt and black trousers, would also have to surrender his passport, sign on at Leixlip Garda station three days a week and agree to have no contact whatsoever with Mr Cham.

Mr Cham, dressed in a black jacket, shirt and jumper, also made no reply to the two charges when put to him, the court was told.

He was remanded in custody until Friday when, his solicitor said, he will make a bail application.

The court heard Xing Wang was arrested in a car park at Dublin Airport on Sunday January 22.

He was taken to Coolock Garda station where he was charged on Monday evening on three counts: under Section 29 of the Theft and Fraud Offences Act; of failure to produce a passport or other identity card, under Section 12 of the Immigration Act; and failure to present to an immigration officer on arrival in the state, under Section 4.2 of the Immigration Act.

He made no reply to the charges.

Dressed in a black jacket, jumper and jeans, the accused, who needed an interpreter, was remanded in custody to appear before Cloverhill Court in Dublin on Friday.

A solicitor said no bail application was being made at this stage because of identity and status issues.

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