Businesswoman facing chrges linked to cannabis facotory gets bail

The High Court in Belfast

A BUSINESSWOMAN allegedly linked to seizures of more than £800,000 worth of cannabis is no gangster's moll, the High Court heard yesterday.

Prosecutors claimed 35-year-old Hang Nguyen was part of a crime operation, headed by her partner, growing drugs at factories across Northern Ireland.

But counsel for Hguyen insisted the case against her is based on nothing more than suspicion and said she vehemently denied the charges.

Declan Quinn argued: "If the prosecution are suggesting this lady is some sort of gangster's moll, there's no evidence of any trappings of a lavish lifestyle.

"When she was arrested at her business premises she had only £170."

Nguyen, of Lisburn Road in Belfast, faces 10 charges including producing and conspiracy to produce Class B drugs, and assisting unlawful immigration.

The mother-of-two was granted bail but banned from any contact with her 40-year-old partner and co-accused, Luong Bui.

The alleged offences were committed between April 1 and December 5, when police raided an industrial unit on the Glen Road in Comber, Co Down.

Officers seized 1,200 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of £600,000 in the warehouse.

Living quarters had been set up for those allegedly growing the drugs, with one man claiming he had resided in the warehouse for six weeks after being brought over from Vietnam.

Drugs worth £155,000 and £70,000 were also uncovered at residential properties in Coalisland, Co Tyrone, and the Four Winds area of Belfast as part of the same investigation.

However, Mr Quinn insisted there was "clear blue water" in the strength of the case against his client and Bui.

He told the court she is a British citizen who left Hong Kong for the UK in 1992, arriving in Northern Ireland five years ago.

Since then the mother of two has been self-employed as a nail bar technician.

Granting bail, Mr Justice Burgess ordered Nguyen to surrender her passport.

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