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Crackdown nets 3,000 illegal immigrants, 142 smugglers

Updated: 2016-03-31 07:40
By Zhou Mo and Chai Hua in Shenzhen (China Daily)

A special operation launched in February to crack down on human trafficking has netted nearly 3,000 illegal immigrants, mostly from Southeast Asian countries, who were smuggled to Hong Kong by local traffickers.

Many of the 2,943 foreigners arrived in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and were transported to Guangdong province before being taken to Hong Kong, officials said on Wednesday. Of those, 2,860 were from Southeast Asia and the rest were from South Asia.

Police also said they had detained 142 smugglers from China and other countries, including 29 from Southeast Asia and South Asia.

One of the largest criminal groups, a well-organized team led by a Hong Kong resident from South Asia known as "Little Tiger", lured immigrants with promises of jobs, officials said. They were smuggled into the country through Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and then taken by train to Shenzhen.

Crackdown nets 3,000 illegal immigrants, 142 smugglers

"The activities were well organized by professional traffickers, who had clear and specific responsibilities. They formed a human smuggling chain," said Yin Chengjun, division head of the Border Control Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, at a news conference in Shenzhen on Wednesday.

Some criminal groups also routed the illegal immigrants from the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region to Guangdong province after crossing the border with Vietnam.

The South Asians smuggled by Little Tiger's group stayed at rental apartments near a railway station in Shenzhen's Luohu district, waiting for a chance to sneak into Hong Kong, officials said. They would either climb over the barbed wire along the Shenzhen-Hong Kong border or travel by boat from ports in Shenzhen and Huizhou, Guangdong province, to Hong Kong.

During the morning of March 18, the public security departments of the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong jointly detained 30 suspects and 121 smuggled South Asian immigrants, and they seized four boats and a vehicle, during an operation at more than 20 locations on land and at sea.

Most foreigners immigrate to the Chinese mainland or Hong Kong to work, but some also engage in crimes such as theft, robbery and drug trafficking, which has affected social security and stability in both areas, Yin said.

"The ministry will continue to make efforts in combating professional crimes and resolutely maintain security and stability of the Guangdong-Hong Kong border and Hong Kong society," he said.

The police action organized by the ministry began on Feb 20 and will continue until July 2017. The joint operation involves Guangdong and Yunnan provinces, the Guangxi Zhuang and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions, and the Hong Kong special administrative region.

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