Asylum seeker sold fake DVDs 'to live'

A FAILED asylum seeker has been spared prison after Ipswich police found nearly 500 counterfeit DVDs in his car and his home.

Colin Adwent

A FAILED asylum seeker has been spared prison after Ipswich police found nearly 500 counterfeit DVDs in his car and his home.

Ipswich Crown Court heard it was the third time Zhong Hua was caught with unlicensed films in his possession.

However, the 41-year-old cannot be repatriated to China as it has refused accept him after he fled due to persecution.

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Hua claimed he was forced to sell the DVDs so he could live, as he had been refused asylum and a work permit by the Home Office following his arrival in England in April 2003,

Patricia Doggett, prosecuting, told the court Hua had previously pleaded guilty to possessing criminal property, three counts of possessing goods containing a false trademark and supplying a pornographic video.

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Hua's silver Toyota was stopped at the junction of Dickens Road and London Road in Ipswich on February 25.

A total 499 counterfeit dvds were discovered in the boot and at his home. Hua also had �942 in cash on him at the time of his arrest.

Miss Doggett said one of the films was an adult movie which can only be sold in a licensed sex shop.

When interviewed, Hua, of Gascoigne Road, Colchester, said he got the films from someone in London for �1 each and sold them on for �3 to �3.50 each, or �10 for three. However, he refused to say who his supplier was.

He also claimed the money found on him was winnings from gambling, but a small amount was from the sale of DVDs.

The court was told Hua had been caught twice before.

In 2005 he was found with counterfeit DVDs at Ransomes Europark in Ipswich. He received a caution on that occasion.

Hua was also convicted in March 2006 for similar matters and received a 28-day prison sentence.

Matthew McNiff, mitigating, said his client's situation meant he was compelled to sell the counterfeit dvds so he could survive.

Mr McNiff added Hua had fled China after upsetting the country's authorities.

He said: “As a consequence he is estranged from his country, his family, his friends and everything he loves dearly.”

Judge David Goodin sentenced Hua to 26 weeks in prison suspended for two years.

He also ordered Hua be electronically tagged and the subject of a curfew for 13 weeks from 8pm to 6am.

A proceeds of crime confiscation hearing was also set for October 8 at Ipswich Crown Court.

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