Human trafficking gang smashed
( 2003-07-12 09:56) (China Daily)
Police from four provinces combined to uncover a gang that allegedly stole women and sold them to farmers for several thousand yuan, it was revealed on Friday.
A total of 18 suspects have been detained for questioning and 42 women who were allegedly abducted and sold as brides in rural areas in Guangdong, Zhejiang, Fujian and Jiangsu provinces have been rescued. All of the women are aged between 17 and 26.
An official from the Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Public Security said the crackdown is a heavy blow to the trafficking of women and children, which has been active in the province.
He claimed it was the biggest human trafficking gang to be smashed in the southern Chinese province, which borders the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.
Guangdong police, in collaboration with police in Fujian, Jiangsu and Guizhou provinces, exposed the gang, which allegedly got an average of 5,000 yuan (US$600) for each woman.
The victims were from rural areas in Guangdong, Guizhou, Hunan and Sichuan provinces and Chongqing Municipality, it is claimed.
Some women were pregnant and had been seriously mistreated by their ''husbands,'' police say.
Guangdong police established a task force to investigate the gang and handle the case after speaking to Xiao Hong, one of the alleged victims, in the Guangdong city of Zhongshan on February 14.
The 18-year-old, who came from Southwest China's Sichuan Province and was employed in a factory in Zhongshan, was abducted and sold to a farmer in East China's Fujian Province in November, it is claimed.
According to police, Xiao was fooled by a fellow villager, Ran Maogui, who offered her a phony job in Fujian Province where she could earn more than 2,000 yuan (US$240) a month.
Xiao was allegedly raped by Ran in a house that he rented when they arrived in Fujian and he later sold her to a local farmer.
After escaping, she returned to Zhongshan and reported the alleged incident to local police.
After five months of investigation, police swooped earlier this week in Zhongshan, detaining the suspects, including Ran Maokui, Ran Maochao and Ran Guangping, who are the alleged ringleaders.
Police say most of the women have been seriously brutalized.
One of the alleged victims, Xiao Fang, claimed that she was sold by the gang to a 30-year-old farmer in Lianshui County in East China's Jiangsu Province.
Xiao, who was more than seven months pregnant when located by police, alleged she was seriously beaten by the family members of her ''husband'' everyday.
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