Illegal immigrants get jail terms

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 November, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 November, 2000, 12:00am

Updated at 6.53pm:
Twenty-four men found hiding in a US-bound container last month were sentenced to prison terms on Thursday, in the first case of its kind in which mainland stowaways were caught in Hong Kong and convicted.

The men, aged 16 to 36, pleaded guilty before Magistrate Steven Geiser at Tsuen Wan Court to one count of attempting to stowaway and one of remaining in Hong Kong illegally. The 16-year-old were sentenced to nine months in jail and the rest to 18 months.

Another two men, also involved in the incident, also pleaded guilty. But the court heard they would be assisting the police for investigation. Mr Geiser deterred sentencing of them and adjourned their case to December 14.

Customs officers found the 26 men, all from Fuzhou in Fujian province, hiding in the container, which had been modified for the purpose of smuggling humans, at midnight on October 18.