Friday, February 24, 2023

Birmingham people smuggler called migrants 'pork'

Birmingham people smuggler called migrants 'pork'

A people smuggler who referred to migrants as "pork" and "chicken" has been jailed.

Hai Le, 33, from Birmingham, was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison on Wednesday at the city's crown court.

Vietnamese nationals paid up to £17,000 to be transported on lorries from Europe to Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

The court heard how they were then made to work illegally as a way of repaying the money.

Le's co-accused, taxi driver Habib Behsodi from Kent, was also found guilty of conspiring to facilitate illegal immigration.

His two-year prison sentence was suspended for two years and he was given probation work, including 200 hours of community service.

Hai Le being arrested
Le was arrested at his home in Handsworth in September 2021

Le and Behsodi were part of a network of criminals that referred to migrants as "pork" and "chicken" when arranging the logistics via phone messages, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.

Once they had arrived in the UK via lorries, Behsodi would work with Le to pick up migrants and drive them to the West Midlands, as well as collecting cash payments.

Le was involved in at least seven attempts to move migrants to the UK between 19 August and 4 September 2020.

He was arrested in September 2021 at his home in Handsworth. At first he tried to flee the property and also gave officers the name of Ho Sy Quoc.

The NCA added it had worked with authorities in Vietnam to establish his true identity.

The court also heard how Le used the money he got from people smuggling to fund his "lavish lifestyle", including wearing £1,000 designer trainers, and renovating a large home in Vietnam.

Migrants in the back of lorries
Vietnamese nationals were then sent to work illegally to pay off their debt

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