Northern Ireland

Greyabbey cannabis haul: Criminal gang 'behind find'

An organised criminal gang was behind a drugs factory discovered in County Down, a court has heard.

Phat Suong Chim, 46, and Tuyem Kim Nguyen, 24, both of Main Street, Greyabbey, appeared in court following the seizure of cannabis plants with an estimated value of up to £500,000.

They were charged with having and cultivating cannabis, and possession with intent to supply on 23 August.

The pair were remanded in custody.

The drugs were discovered in rooms above a restaurant in the centre of Greyabbey on Friday.

The detective constable investigating the case said police could connect both defendants to the charges.

Mr Chim's lawyer applied for bail, saying that the married father-of-four had been living in the UK for 20 years.

He said that while he owned the restaurant and the seven rooms above it, he sub-let them out and was not aware of what was going on.


However, police objected to the application, saying that they believed an organised criminal gang was behind the drugs factory, that they would try to recoup their losses and Mr Chim would abscond.

A special sitting of Ards Magistrate's Court also heard Mr Chim had previously been investigated for similar cases but had never been formally charged.

The policeman added that Ms Nguyen was found with a bank book containing Mr Chim's details, and this book was linked to "expanding the factory".

Mr Chim's lawyer said that his account details were in the book because that was how the tenants paid him rent.

It was also noted that, when it was discovered, the cannabis had not been harvested, but it would have fetched between £350 and £500,000 on the street.

Mr Chim was refused bail. Ms Nguyen, who did not apply for bail, was also remanded.

They are both due to appear in court again next month.