Foiling one of the biggest attempts of human trafficking in the country, the police earlier this month intercepted a group of more than 100 villagers trying to cross over to notorious Golden Triangle in Myanmar from Yunnan province.
Two human smugglers - referred to as "snakeheads" in China - were arrested for trying to sneak 124 people out of the country in two batches, the Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday.
A third smuggler, who escaped arrest, is still at large.
The snakeheads, according to the police, had "overseas backing", Xinhua said.
The migrants, hailing from villages near Liaoning province's Chaoyang and Dandong - the main border between China and North Korea - were discovered in Xishaungbanna, a part of southwestern Yunnan province close to the porous borders with Myanmar and Laos.
The Golden Triangle, a mountainous opium-producing area is home to bandits, rebels and warlords.
The migrants, who have now been sent back to their villages, were brought to Yunnan with promises of jobs but were being tricked to cross the border by casino operators in Myanmar, where they would be forced to construct roads, an unnamed official was quoted as saying.
Numerous casinos run by drug lords and ethnic rebels operate on the other side of the long border with China.
In recent years, the police have also come across several cases of poverty-stricken people being smuggled into China from Myanmar.