A “one-stop trafficking chain” has been cracked with the arrest of around 3,000 illegal immigrants and traffickers in three joint operations between the mainland’s Ministry of Public Security (公安部) and Hong Kong police over the past month.
The illegal immigrants were heading to Hong Kong to look for jobs, authorities said on 30 March, adding they may also have been involved in crimes, including robbery.
They said the operations which began on 20 February and are expected to last until July next year rolled up a long-running syndicate headed by a Hongkonger of South Asian (南亞) ethnicity nicknamed “Little Tiger” (老虎仔).
Officers in Guangdong (廣東), Guangxi (廣西) and Yunnan (雲南) provinces rounded up 2,943 illegal immigrants, including 2,860 Southeast Asians and more than 80 South Asians.
Another 142 smugglers were arrested, 29 of whom are from Southeast or South Asia. Hong Kong police intercepted 94 illegal immigrants.
“Trafficking is highly organised and professionalised, and concerns parties across the border,” said Yin Chengjun (尹承軍), director of the ministry’s border control department.
“There is a clear division of work within trafficking syndicates. Hong Kong snakeheads control people remotely. Snakeheads in Southeast Asia and South Asia recruit illegal immigrants.”
He added: “And mainland snakeheads are responsible for transport. They form a one-stop trafficking chain.”
The operations smashed the syndicate, which has been trafficking South Asians from Guangdong province to Hong Kong.
A trafficking route that covers both Guangdong and Yunnan was cut off in another operation from 7 to 8 March. The illegal immigrants entered Guangxi and Guangdong from Vietnam (越南), hoping to make their way to Hong Kong.
(This article is published on Sing Tao Daily on 7 April 2016).
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