Expatriate in court over visa scam in China
A 58-year-old Malaysian has become the first expatriate to face trial after allegedly organizing the departure of dozens of Chinese workers on tourism visas from Nantong in East China's Jiangsu Province, the Nanjing-based Modern Express reported.
Siaw Min Kee arranged the travel visas of 51 men from Nantong, who were actually going to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to work, the Nantong People's Procuratorate alleged.
But no decision was made late last week after the first hearing at the Nantong Intermediate People's Court. The second hearing is yet to be scheduled.
In a similar case last year, two Chinese,who were found guilty of organizing illegal migration in the name of travel, were jailed for 10 years and 11 years by the Nantong Intermediate People's Court.
Their illegal profits were confiscated and each was fined 100,000 yuan (US$12,000), the local paper said.
During court proceedings on Friday, it was alleged that in 2001 Siaw, a Malaysian company manager involved with overseas labour procurement, negotiated with Liu Jiashun, 38, to hire Chinese to work overseas.
Liu is the manager of a Zhucheng-based foreign trade company in East China's Shandong Province.
It is claimed that Liu appointed a Nanjing-based human resource intermediary company, which is run by Wang Xiaolan, who is the third defendant in the case, to hire the workers.
In July 2002, Liu faxed a copy of workers' passports to Siaw in Malaysia, the court was told.
Siaw then helped arrange tourism visas for the 51 workers, it is alleged, although they were actually going abroad to work.
After that, Liu and Wang arranged for the labourers in Jiangsu Province to go to the UAE in two batches in November 2002, it is claimed.
But the court was told some of them failed to find work in Dubai, and that they went to the Chinese consulate general for assistance.
With the aid of the consulate, some of the people went back to China at the end of 2002 and early last year. It is not known how many of the labourers are still in Dubai.
During the hearing, Siew insisted that his behaviour was not illegal as it was normal commercial practice, which is condoned by the UAE Government.
He said all of the workers had valid passports.
"Working in the UAE requires a probationary period, so working visas cannot be obtained immediately," Siew said.
Nantong is one of the areas in the province that poses the biggest risk in terms of illegal emigration, according to the Jiangsu Provincial Bureau of Public Security.
Among the 26,241 Nantong citizens who went abroad last year, 41 per cent went for work, according to bureau statistics.