Hong Kong, China Break Up Human-Smuggling Ring

Hong Kong officials said Friday they had smashed a syndicate that used fake documents to smuggle mainland Chinese into Argentina, Brazil, Spain and Australia.

The immigration department said 28 arrests were made in a joint operation with mainland Chinese authorities that ended on Friday, adding the ring had smuggled some 50 people since 2011.

"During this eight day operation, we have succeeded in neutralising an international human smuggling syndicate," the immigration department's assistant director William Fung told a press conference.

At least half of those arrested were Hong Kong residents, according to Fung.

Illegal migrants paid the syndicate 200,000 yuan ($32,250) to leave China through Hong Kong or the southern city of Shenzhen, before they travelled to intermediary countries in the Middle East or Southeast Asia.

They then used fake documents to go to their final destination looking for jobs.

Hong Kong police in 2009 smashed a vice syndicate suspected of trafficking women from the Philippines and luring them into prostitution in the southern Chinese city.

Copyright (2013) AFP. All rights reserved.



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