Tayside and Central Scotland

Restaurateur 'exploited' failed asylum seeker

Habibur Chowdhury Image copyright Alan Richardson
Image caption Habibur Chowdhury paid the man just over half the minimum wage

A Dundee restaurateur who "exploited" a failed asylum seeker to run his kitchen paid him £4 per hour for a 72-hour week, a court was told.

Habibur Chowdhury ran the Ashiana restaurant, which was raided last June following a tip-off about illegal immigrants working there.

Chowdhury, 60, was paying Mohammed Manik, a Bangladeshi national, just over half the minimum wage.

Mr Manik told Home Office investigators he "felt exploited" by Chowdhury.

Chowdhury later told police he had nothing to do with the restaurant and claimed not to know who Mr Manik was.

Depute fiscal Eilidh Robertson told Dundee Sheriff Court: "As a result of intelligence received by the Home Office, the Ashiana restaurant was raided on June 25 last year.

"Checks showed Mohammed Manik didn't have leave to remain or work and he was arrested, taken to police headquarters and subsequently to Dungavel detention centre."

Image copyright Google
Image caption The restaurant was raided following a tip-off about illegal immigrants working there

The court was told Mr Manik was deported to Bangladesh two weeks later.

Ms Robertson said: "The accused was traced and said he was in charge.

"However, in a later police interview he claimed he was only there at the time because he was meeting someone and had no role in the company.

"Statements were taken from workers there and they said the accused was responsible for recruiting new employees, that he was always there, and that he paid the wages."

Refused asylum

Ms Robertson said Mr Manik was interviewed and told officers he had applied for asylum but had been refused.

She said: "He couldn't support himself and was living in Glasgow.

"He explained his predicament to a friend who put him in touch with the accused who offered him a job in Dundee.

"He was paid cash, working six days a week, 12 hours a day.

"He was paid £300 a week regardless of how much he worked.

"He said there were only two people working in the kitchen and that he felt he had been exploited by the accused due to his immigration status."

Chowdhury, of Dundee, admitted employing someone who had not been granted leave to enter or remain in the UK.

Sheriff Alastair Brown deferred sentence until January for reports and released Chowdhury on bail.

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