China, UK fight people smuggling together
China and Britain will exchange police officers to tackle the problem of human trafficking highlighted by the deaths of 19 Chinese migrants in England.
Seventeen men and two women died last week when they were caught by fast-rising tides as they collected cockles in Morecambe Bay.
Another 16 cockle pickers, including 14 Chinese, survived.
British police arrested two more suspects on Monday and said they were focusing the investigation on gangs of people traffickers.
So far, five men and two women, including five survivors of the cockle picking group, have been arrested in connection to last week's deaths, police sources said.
A British police spokeswoman said the two men arrested on Monday surrendered themselves.
"They are being questioned about involvement they may have had in organizing the cockling trip that led to the tragedy," a Lancashire police spokesman said.
Britain plans to post a law enforcement liaison officer to its embassy in Beijing in the next few weeks to"take forward our co-operation with the Chinese on the whole range of immigration crimes," British embassy spokesman Alex Pinfield told China Daily yesterday.
A number of officials from the Chinese Ministry of Public Security were seconded to the British Home Office to help identify illegal Chinese migrants, Pinfield said.
"We have been stepping up our engagement with the Chinese authorities to tackle this problem together and I know the Chinese consulate officials in Manchester are in close touch with British police," he said.
A Foreign Ministry spokesperson said yesterday China has made continuous efforts to prevent stowaway and work with Britain to crack down on illegal immigration.
Deng Boqing, consul general in Manchester, told reporters on Monday that he and his colleagues are working with British police to identify the dead.
Deng said he hopes British police can quicken the pace of the investigation to identify the dead and the survivors. A female student with a Chinese passport is among the survivors who are under police custody.
Human smuggling from China hit world headlines in June 2000 when 58 illegal immigrants from East China's Fujian Province were found suffocated to death in a tomato truck while travelling to the British port of Dover from the Netherlands.