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Illegal emigration organizer put in jail
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-11-15 22:36

The mastermind behind an illegal emigration plot was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment, say local media reports.

Wang Xuemin, former president of the Institute of Guilin, a tourist city in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, faces 15 years in jail in connection to people-smuggling, the Guangxi-based Nanguo Morning Post reported yesterday.

Wang took 14 stowaways to Osaka, Japan, on November 25, 2003 under the guise of a cultural exchange programme.

The stowaways disappeared soon after they arrived in Osaka.

Wang had applied to the Japan-China Culture Association in April, 2003 to send a team for a friendly match of Weiqi, also known as encirclement chess.

The association approved his application and invited him and 30 other people to Japan.

The 30 people who made the trip were recruited in East China's Fujian Province by Wang and his accomplice Xiao Jun, an unemployed man from Guilin.

Wang and Xiao got passports and visas to Japan for 28 people who were described as chess players by Wang's institute.

Wang first took 14 of them to Osaka through Hong Kong in November, 2003.

The stowaways disappeared in Osaka and Wang quickly returned to China. The Japan-China Culture Association reported the case to Japan's foreign affairs authority which in turn reported the case to Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affair soon.

Wang had already come into the notice of authorities by December of 2003.

The investigation showed Wang and his accomplices were paid more than 800,000 yuan (US$96,385) from the stowaways, 210,000 yuan (US$25,300) of which went to Xiao and 150,000 (US$18,000) to Wang.

Xinhua reported Xiao and his accomplices were arrested and sentenced to imprisonment.

However, no details about the whereabouts of the 14 stowaways have been reported.

In another bust last week in Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province, 58 suspected stowaways and their snakehead were arrested by local police.

The bust was the biggest every by Yunnan's border police, reported the Beijing Youth Daily.

Local police reported in October, 2004, that a group of illegal emigrants was set to start off from Xiamen, in East China's Fujian Province, and go to Myanmar through Kunming, capital city of Southwest China's Yunnan Province.

Police first took the snakehead surnamed He into custody and then caught the 58 people suspected of planning the illegal emigration on November 2 after two of them arrived in Kunming by train.

The stowaways planned go to Myanmar and then Brazil before going to England to look for jobs.

The case is still under investigation.

Chinese police arrested 5,286 stowaways and 444 snakeheads after a five-month, nationwide investigation between Octoberand March.

More than 16,000 illegal immigrants were also been repatriated during that period.

Illegal emigration of Chinese citizens and cross-border crimes, such as smuggling of guns and drugs, began to rebound since September, 2003, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

In October of 2003, frontier defence forces in Yunnan Province foiled a large people-smuggling case and captured 52 stowaways and seven snakeheads from Fujian and Anhui provinces.

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