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'Australia's dumbest criminal' faces sentencing for crashing into cop car with $200m in meth or ice

‘Hopeless, negligent and shambolic’ – that’s how a lawyer has described the crimes of a hapless drug courier sprung trafficking $200 million in meth because he crashed into parked police cars.

Simon Tu, 28, was branded ‘Australia’s dumbest criminal’ when he accidentally ploughed his white Toyota HiAce into stationary cop cars in Sydney’s Eastwood one Monday morning last July.  

Tu was ambling down the road, past the police station on Ethel Street, when he accidentally slammed into two parked NSW Police cars.

But he kept driving until officers spotted his van an hour later.

Tu later said he had suffered a ‘microsleep’ and made the farcical claim he was delivering ‘food around Sydney’ – rather than 260kg of crystal methamphetamine. 

That humiliating moment brought him in front of a NSW District Court Judge Penelope Hock on Thursday for a sentencing hearing.

Sprung: Simon Tu, 27, accidentally rammed into two parked police cars in broad daylight while driving a car with carrying up to $200million in methylamphetamine in the back

Sprung: Simon Tu, 27, accidentally rammed into two parked police cars in broad daylight while driving a car with carrying up to $200million in methylamphetamine in the back








As Tu, dressed in prison greens, watched via video-link from a prison on the NSW mid-north coast, his lawyer Phillip Boulten SC argued his crime was at the lower end of commercial drug supply offending. 

He was a simple courier, he said – although not a very good one. 

‘His driving is what gave it away, and his role was to drive,’ lawyer Phillip Boulten SC told the court. 

‘In some senses it was a hopeless execution of the task he was asked to perform,’ he said, going on to describe it was ‘shambolic’ and ‘negligent’.

Tu bowed his head and appeared to inspect the back of his hands as the barrister delivered his withering assessment.  

Judge Hock told Mr Boulten: ‘I accept that submission. Shambolic is a good word.’ 

Tu has never given a full explanation for how he obtained the drugs or the mysterious criminal syndicate involved.

He only gave police the barest of explanations at the time of his arrest, according to an agreed statement of facts.

Police noted he was ‘fidgety’ when pulled over and did not believe his claims he was delivering food.

As officers opened up the cardboard boxes loaded into the back, one policeman told Tu: ‘Someone isn’t going to be happy. You know how much it’s worth?’

Smashed up: Tu's spectacular crash destroyed the front of a police sedan parked out the front of Eastwood Police Station, in Sydney's north-west

Smashed up: Tu’s spectacular crash destroyed the front of a police sedan parked out the front of Eastwood Police Station, in Sydney’s north-west

What was hiding in the back: Police found 260kg of crystal methylamphetamine in Tu's vehicle

What was hiding in the back: Police found 260kg of crystal methylamphetamine in Tu’s vehicle 

‘A lot,’ Tu admitted. 

‘What’s the go, you owe people money or just wanted to make some quick cash?’

‘Something like that,’ Tu said. 

Officers found a note in his pocket saying ‘Pizza Hut, Eastwood’ – where he had apparently picked up the drugs. 

It was not clear whether he had collected the drugs before colliding with the police vehicles, or had done so in the hour before he was sprung, the court heard. 

Mr Boulten did shed some light into why Tu had become a drug trafficker in the first place, saying he was a drug-user and both he and his business had financial difficulties. 

‘He was using cocaine, he was gambling,’ Mr Boulten told the court, adding he clearly had owed someone money. 

Tu pleaded guilty to a large commercial drug supply charge earlier this year and faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years’ imprisonment. 

Judge Hock will deliver her sentence on Friday. 

BLOW-BY-BLOW: HOW SIMON TU WAS SPRUNG, ACCORDING TO COURT FACTS

After crashing his car into the police vehicles at 10.36am on July 22, Tu drove his banged-up van for about an hour before officers pulled him over on Blaxland Road, Ryde, the court document said.

Tu, dressed in a white business shirt, jeans and loafers, was ‘nervous, shaking, fidgety’ and avoided eye contact as officers asked what happened outside the police station. 

Tu said he had fallen asleep behind the wheel – veering onto the wrong side of the road – and only woke up when he rammed into the cop car. 

‘Driving and microsleep … realised I fell asleep,’ he said. 

Tu, who was being recorded by police body worn cameras, was then asked what he’d been doing in the suburb, the court facts said.

Someone isn’t going to be happy. You know how much it’s worth?
A detective speaking to Tu on July 22

He claimed that he was simply ‘delivering food’.

The fidgety driver said he picked up food from a warehouse in Eastwood and was running deliveries around Sydney.

But police were suspicious of claims, the fact sheet said, because of his nervy demeanour and the fact he had driven off from a disastrous crash out the front of a police station. 

Officers inspected the back of the van and found a series of Bunnings-branded cardboard boxes. What they didn’t see was any food, the facts said.

In the hour after the crash, a shaken Tu only managed to get from Eastwood to the nearby suburb of Ryde

In the hour after the crash, a shaken Tu only managed to get from Eastwood to the nearby suburb of Ryde

The court facts said the purity of the substance was between 71 and 81 per cent

The court facts said the purity of the substance was between 71 and 81 per cent 

The cardboard boxes were loaded out of the van and meticulously pored through by gloved New South Wales police officers

The cardboard boxes were loaded out of the van and meticulously pored through by gloved New South Wales police officers 

Police opened one of the boxes and found twenty resealable bags of a suspicious crystalline powder. There were 260 bags of the drug inside in total. 

The detectives asked Tu what was in the bags, but he was evasive. ‘Not sure,’ he said, the court documents said. 

Then he made an intriguing admission. 

He claimed to have picked up the boxes from a Pizza Hut outlet an hour before – but wouldn’t say who had given them to him. 

Officers also found a note with the address of the Eastwood, Balaclava Rd Pizza Hut in his jacket pocket. 

Daily Mail Australia does not suggest any wrongdoing by people involved in the business – only that Tu claims to have allegedly collected them there. 

The detective asked: ‘Mate, we have a drug dog coming and it’s going to be analysed. Is it drugs?’

Tu shrugged.

‘What is it … ice?’ the police officer asked.

Tu shrugged again.

‘Someone isn’t going to be happy. You know how much it’s worth?’

‘A lot,’ Tu admitted. 

‘What’s the go, you owe people money or just wanted to make some quick cash?’

‘Something like that,’ Tu said.   

An address of a Pizza Hut outlet on Balaclava Rd (above) was found written on a note in Tu's pocket, court documents said. Daily Mail Australia does not suggest any wrongdoing by people involved in the business

An address of a Pizza Hut outlet on Balaclava Rd (above) was found written on a note in Tu’s pocket, court documents said. Daily Mail Australia does not suggest any wrongdoing by people involved in the business

The agreed fact sheet said Tu has accepted he knew the boxes contained prohibited drugs and that they contained a ‘large commercial quantity’ – a critical legal definition which would allow prosecutors to jail him for up to 20 years. 

But he didn’t know the exact quantity of drugs in the car.

‘There is no evidence … the offender played any further role other than as the driver of the vehicle which was transporting the drugs at the time he was apprehended,’ the agreed facts said.

Tu’s truck was fingerprinted extensively and his prints only turned up in the driver’s seat and on the front of the truck, not the back, the facts said.

He offered police a ‘no comment’ in an electronically recorded interview at the station.

Tu’s crash was one of the biggest – and easiest – drug hauls in the history of the New South Wales Police Force, with officers valuing the total haul at $200 million at the time.

VERY UNLUCKY DRUG COURIER’S CAR CRASH FAIL: A TIMELINE

Monday, July 22:

10.30am 

A white Toyota HiAce crashes into parked police cars on Ethel St, Eastwood, in front of the police station.  

It does not stop, leaving behind carnage and police officers determined to find the culprit.

11.30am

A police inspector pulls over the van on Church St, Ryde, about 3kms away from the scene of the crash. 

Simon Tu, 27, is behind the wheel, wearing jeans, a business shirt and loafers and claims to be a ‘food delivery’ driver.

Tu claims he suffered a ‘microsleep’ that led him to veer onto the wrong side of the road. 

Officers take a look in the back only to discover he was carrying 260kg of crystal methylamphetamine, better known as ‘ice’. 

Tu is arrested charged with large commercial drug supply, negligent driving and failing to give his particulars to police. 

The man spends the night in police custody and gives police ‘no comment’ in an electronically recorded interview.

Tuesday, July 23: 

The man appears in front of Burwood Local Court. He does not apply for bail and it is formally refused. 

His lawyer, Raymond Zhai, tells reporters: ‘My client is exercising his right to silence and I have no comment for him.’

February 20, 2020  

Tu pleads guilty in an unreported court appearance, with a statement of agreed facts tendered to the New South Wales District Court.  

May 20:

The court releases the fact sheet to Daily Mail Australia, which Tu said he had made the pick-up of the drugs from a Pizza Hut. 

Officers found a note for a Pizza Hut business’s address in his jacket pocket. 

September 10:

Simon Tu’s sentencing hearing is held.

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