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Wednesday, August 3, 2016, 14:54

Police bust two human smuggling rings

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HONG KONG - A joint enforcement operation by Hong Kong and Guangdong police has broken two human smuggling rings bringing illegal immigrants into the SAR. Hong Kong police say 94 smugglers and stowaways were arrested during the sweep, part of an ongoing crackdown on human smuggling operations.

Most of the migrants coming from Vietnam with the remainder from other South Asian locales. Police say the smuggling syndicates usually land migrants on the mainland, then smuggle them into Hong Kong through Shenzhen. The Vietnamese migrants told police they paid HK$10,000 to 15,000 to be taken to Hong Kong, those from other South Asian locations said they paid HK$30,000 to HK$50,000.

Chief immigration officer (Special Investigation) Stephen Lau Wing-kei said he expected that based on past experience,  illegal immigrants will petition for non-refoulement, In some cases, illegal immigrants turn themselves in and file statements claiming they are in grave danger if they are returned to their home countries, Lau explained.

The Immigration Department arrested about 1,500 illegal immigrants during the first six months this year. A total of 162 illegal immigrants were busted for June alone. The number of illegal migrants has dropped significantly over the past months. During the second half of 2015, the number of migrants reached an average of 500 per month.

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