Nhat Pham, 31, and seven others were charged with manufacturing and trafficking large quantities of drugs after police uncovered Victoria's biggest clandestine laboratory in the western suburbs on Friday.
Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg yesterday questioned why a Vietnamese man with a pregnant wife would be coming to Australia to study.
"It amazes me why people bother coming here on boats when all they need to do is apply for a student visa," Mr Rozencwajg said.
"If you told me the name of the (educational) institution, I bet I wouldn't recognise it."
The Melbourne Magistrates' Court heard Mr Pham, who required a translator because he doesn't speak English, was supposedly studying a business degree.
Mr Rozencwajg suggested the only link to his chosen field was the large commercial quantity of methamphetamine he was charged with trafficking.
"Is that why it's commercial?" he said.
Last week's police raid allegedly uncovered cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and cannabis and found methamphetamine worth tens of millions of dollars was being manufactured in two homes in Sunshine West.
The prosecutor said more than one tonne of precursor liquids were found when police executed search warrants at homes in Joan St and Alpini Pde, acting on intelligence from the Australian Crime Commission.
Mr Pham had an operation on his jaw at the Royal Melbourne Hospital following the arrest, the court heard.
No application for bail was made and Mr Pham was remanded in custody.
The co-accused are: Canadian national Phuon Nam Nguyen, 32; Dien Nguyen, 38, of Bossley Park, NSW; Yana Orm, 26, of Paralowie, South Australia; Somkit Chankham, 44, of Salisbury North, South Australia; Huu Thanh Pham, 39, of Bossley Park, NSW; Anousone Somchanmavong, 27, of Salisbury North, South Australia; and Vietnamese national Cuong Viet Bui, 39, of Hai Phong.
The men are back in court on March 4.
dailytelegraph.com.au 30 Oct 2012
Authorities are fully aware of the 'scam' as they support it.
It (overseas education) is a multi billion dollar industry that governments thrive on, where also businesses are set up for the brethren or colleagues of the policy and law makers.
The government chooses to turn a blind eye to the criminals it imports, as they only effect the general populous and not the untouchable elite.