Restaurant boss to pay £720,000 for employing illegal workers

King's Lodge restaurant owner Kwai Fun Li, ordered to pay £720,000 for employing illegal workers. Pic from Spindrift, single use on Sept 24 2013
Kwai Fun Li: Ordered to repay £720,000Spindrift

A restaurant boss convicted of hiring illegal immigrants has been stripped of £720,000 of assets under Proceeds of Crime laws.

Kwai Fun Li was hit with the order following a confiscation hearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Tuesday.

It was discovered the 45-year-old had made a £1m fortune by cheating on tax and recruiting six workers without the proper paperwork.

Li had owned the King's Lodge restaurants in Glasgow city centre and in Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire.

She was fined £6000 in June 2011 after she admitted allowing staff to illegally remain in the UK by providing employment, accommodation and food.

Prosecutors continued to pursue Li, of Edinburgh, under the Proceeds of Crime Act. It resulted in Sheriff John McCormick making a confiscation order totalling £722,956 on Tuesday.

Li's assets included £300,000 held in bank accounts, £100,000 discovered in a safety deposit box as well as £30,000 of jewels and watches.

Li also had interests in four separate properties - two in Bishopbriggs, one in Falkirk and another in Livingston.

It was claimed during a three-day hearing that much of the jewellery and over £300,000 belonged to her mother Cho Mui Li.

Her mother gave evidence and said she had put money in her daughter's bank account because it would gather more interest than in Hong Kong.

She insisted some of the cash was to cover the cost of a kidney transplant for her husband, who has since died. But, prosecutors said the money was Li's and that it should be re-paid.

Sheriff McCormick said he found Li to be neither "credible nor reliable".

Speaking after the hearing, Solicitor General Lesley Thomson QC said: "Kwai Fun was prosecuted on summary complaint, plead guilty and fined £6000.

"Little more than ten years ago that would have been the end of the matter. However, the wide-ranging powers afforded to us by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 mean that such cases of ‘criminal lifestyle’ offending no longer conclude at conviction."

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