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China arrests 25 illegal Vietnamese immigrants, smugglers in cross-border bust

Armed Chinese police officers patrol on a street in China.
Armed Chinese police officers patrol on a street in China.

Chinese police have smashed a syndicate that allegedly trafficked Vietnamese into Hong Kong via mainland China.
Hong Kong police and their counterparts in Guangdong Province swooped into action Thursday evening after receiving a tipoff that the syndicate was arranging a new boatload of illegal Vietnamese immigrants to be ferried from Guangdong’s Shenzhen City to Hong Kong.

Many hideouts in Hong Kong were raided and 14 people aged 28-60 were detained while mainland Chinese police rounded up another 11, the South China Morning Post reported Friday.

Among the 25 suspects were 15 central figures of the syndicate, while the others were illegal Vietnamese immigrants, police said.

Initial findings are that the Vietnamese people were smuggled to Guangxi Province by land, and vehicles were then arranged to take them to coastal areas in Shenzhen, from where they went to Hong Kong by boat, police said.

They were charged HK$10,000 ($1,275) for the journey to Hong Kong and an additional HK$1,500 ($191) for fake identity cards that “help them to find jobs,” police said.

Vietnam reported 670 human trafficking victims last year, down almost half from 1,128 in 2016.

Hong Kong is one of the top destinations for Vietnamese workers looking for jobs overseas, and reports of illegal Vietnamese workers being arrested have been made every recent year.