A joint operation between Hong Kong and Guangdong authorities has helped smash a syndicate that was smuggling Vietnamese workers illegally into Hong Kong, Metro Daily reported Wednesday.
The operation was undertaken recently after Hong Kong’s Immigration Department became aware of a rising number of illegal Vietnamese people in the city.
The problem was uncovered in September last year, prompting authorities to conduct investigations. More than a hundred personnel took part in the operation between January 9 and 13, raiding 44 locations, the report said.
The actions led to the arrest of 23 people aged between 23 and 61 in Hong Kong, and the seizure of several fake ID cards.
Among the arrested, 10 were Hong Kong residents, including core members of the syndicate and employers of the illegal workers. The rest comprised 12 Vietnamese and one from mainland China. Five of the Vietnamese have been sent to jail.
According to the Immigration Department, the syndicate specialized in smuggling illegal Vietnamese workers across the border hidden beneath trucks, and providing them fake ID cards to help them work in Hong Kong.
Principal immigration officer Choi Yue-ning said the fabricated ID cards were of such poor quality that they can be easily recognized as fakes. He said the syndicate had charged up to HK$10,000 (US$1,290) for each of the Vietnamese who wanted to work in Hong Kong.
The Vietnamese workers first entered China’s southwest Guangxi province legally and then briefly stayed in Shenzhen before they slipped into Hong Kong by hiding in the hollow space between the undercarriage and the wheels of trucks, usually during the early hours of the morning, Choi said.
The official believes cross-border truck drivers were not involved in the syndicate. However, he urged the drivers to be vigilant in case the smugglers try to use them.
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