Manchester student caught with £250,000 cash in suitcase at Piccadilly is convicted of money laundering
Yuming Dong, 21, was part of a sophisticated illegal ‘underground banking scheme’, a court heard.
A Manchester student who used the rail network to transport over £500,000 of illegal money across the country has avoided an immediate jail sentence.
Yuming Dong, 21, a former engineering student, was caught out after British Transport Police (BTP) found over £250,000 in a suitcase when he boarded a train at Piccadilly.
Dong was found guilty of money laundering at Manchester Crown Court and was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years.
He was part of a complex and sophisticated Chinese Underground Banking Scheme which operated among students at the University of Manchester, the court heard.
Dong operated as a courier, travelling on at least two occasions between London and Manchester to transport over £400,000 of illicit cash to be used as a cash pool.
The court heard on 4 February 2019, Dong texted BTP on 61016 claiming there was a suspicious person on board the service carrying a large yellow suitcase.
Officers boarded the train at Manchester Piccadilly and their suspicions were aroused by Dong who was behaving in an agitated way. This led to the discovery of nearly £255,000 of cash in his suitcase and Dong was arrested on suspicion of money laundering, with the money being seized. A search of his address revealed a diary with mention of money laundering and used train tickets from previous visits to London to collect cash.
Further enquiries conducted on the number he used to text BTP proved the extent of his involvement in the criminal conspiracy.
As the investigation developed, evidence revealed that a second University of Manchester student, Hong Qian Wang, performed the role of the banker in the scheme.
She pleaded guilty to money laundering at Manchester Crown Court on 11 March 2021 and was sentenced to two years in prison.
What did BTP say?
Detective Inspector Granville Sellers, from BTP’s Major Serious and Organised Crime team, said: “This was a complex and painstaking investigation which uncovered a sophisticated criminal operation involving large scale money laundering and deception.
“The sum of money involved is simply staggering, but it’s very satisfying to know that over £250,000 of this will now be used as police funds – allowing us further investment in keeping the travelling public safe.
“Money laundering is not a victimless crime, the cash involved often originates from criminal activity such as drug dealing and exploitation. We will always take these reports seriously and work tirelessly to bring offenders before the courts.”