A Manchester University student who reported himself to police as a suspicious train passenger while carrying more than £250,000 in a suitcase has been sentenced.

Yuming Dong, a former engineering student, was arrested 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 and suspended for two years.

The 21-year-old was part of a complex and sophisticated “Chinese Underground Banking Scheme” among students at the University of Manchester, which detectives said involved “large scale money laundering and deception”. Operating as a courier, Dong would use the rail network to transport hundreds of thousands of pounds in illegal money from London to Manchester. 

Appearing at Manchester Crown Court, it was revealed that Dong travelled on at least two occasions between London and Manchester to transport over £400,000 of illicit cash to be used as a cash pool. In 2019, Dong effectively handed himself in when he texted the British Transport Police to report a suspicious person carrying a large yellow suitcase on a train. Officers boarded the train at Manchester Piccadilly and found £255,000 in cash in his suitcase, which was then seized.

A search of his home address later revealed a diary that mentioned money laundering, along with used train tickets from his previous trips to London. Further enquiries conducted on the number he used to text BTP proved the extent of his involvement in the criminal conspiracy. Hong Qian Wang, another University of Manchester student who had been the banker in the scheme, was jailed for two years after pleading guilty to money laundering in March 2021. 

Speaking after sentencing, Detective Inspector Granville Sellers, from the British Transport Police, 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.

He added: “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.”