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$5m in cash, bling and sports cars seized from meth dealer

Author
Dubby Henry, NZ Herald,
Section
Crime,
Publish Date
Thursday, 18 July 2019, 6:48PM
Ka Kit (Chris) Yim, pictured with wife Chien Hui Wu, must forfeit some $5m in assets to police following a High Court order. Yim was jailed in 2017 for his part in a $40m drug deal. (Photo / Facebook)
Ka Kit (Chris) Yim, pictured with wife Chien Hui Wu, must forfeit some $5m in assets to police following a High Court order. Yim was jailed in 2017 for his part in a $40m drug deal. (Photo / Facebook)

A drug-dealing Aucklander and his wife have been ordered to hand over more than $5m of assets - including luxury cars, $1.8m in cash, vintage French wines and a pile of Louis Vuitton and Chanel handbags - to police after a judge decided they were tainted by criminal activity.

Ka Kit Yim, also known as Chris, was jailed in 2017 after he was found to be a key figure in a $40m drug trade between China and New Zealand. Police made an application to the courts to seize his assets, arguing they were "tainted property".

Investigations into the drug syndicate began after police intercepted nearly 40kg of meth hidden in granite tea trays imported from China in 2016.

Part of that consignment made its way to Yim, who was arrested on March 2 2016 and found to be in possession of 1kg of meth, worth $250,000.

He was convicted of possession for supply and sentenced to 11 years and six months in prison.

Subsequent searches of the house where he lived with his wife Chien-Hui Wu found cash and drug-dealing paraphernalia pointing to a deep involvement in the drug trade, police said.

Yim's 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale is among the assets police have been given permission to seize. Photo / Supplied

Yim's 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale is among the assets police have been given permission to seize. Photo / Supplied

A staggering list of the assets police wanted to seize included a $1.1 million residential property in Panmure, 12 vehicles worth $1.3m, $2.4m in cash and funds, nearly $300,000 worth of jewellery and handbags, four dozen bottles of vintage wine, and some $130,000 of profit.

Among the vehicles are a Lamborghini Gallardo, a BMW 1M Coupe, a Ferrari 458 Speciale and a Porsche Cayman GTS.

Yim and Wu are both New Zealand citizens, having arrived in the 1990s from Hong Kong and Taiwan respectively and marrying in 2005.

But Wu has claimed she knew nothing of Yim's involvement in the drug trade, and asked to retain some of the assets because to lose them would cause her "undue hardship".

Wu wanted to keep the Panmure home, which is registered in her name, Yim's Ferrari, her Porsche, half a million in cash and 42 watches, jewellery pieces, handbags and wallets that she said had "particular sentimental value".

Questions remained over Wu's knowledge of his illegal activity, including the source of their wealth.

Wu denies engaging in drug offending and says there is no evidence she was involved in money laundering, or alleged tax offending, or that she knew the source of their wealth.

But Justice Pheroze Jagose did not believe her. In his judgment, delivered today at the High Court in Auckland, the judge found Wu had not given credible evidence of where their riches had come from.

Some of the cash recovered by authorities during raids on Yim's properties and cars. Photo / Supplied

Some of the cash recovered by authorities during raids on Yim's properties and cars. Photo / Supplied

"Her blindness to Mr Yim's large deposits into their joint bank accounts, and to items connected to his offending in plain sight in their home, literally is incredible," Judge Jagose said.

"I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities the evidence is of significant criminal activity since the early 2000s, more likely than not constituted by drug offending, and associated money laundering and tax evasion," he said.

The judge said all the assets requested were clearly "tainted property". He granted the Police Commissioner's application to seize the assets - bar one, a white Chanel diamante watch worth $5000, which Wu claimed was bought in 2002 as a gift from her father.

Wu may be able to keep the watch if it can be proven she acquired it in 2002.

Operation Coral uncovered a multi-million dollar overseas drug syndicate operating in Auckland. Photo / NZ Customs

Operation Coral uncovered a multi-million dollar overseas drug syndicate operating in Auckland. Photo / NZ Customs

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