26 caught trying to sneak out of country
Florence I-ching Ng
Border police in Dalian, Liaoning province, have captured three groups of illegal migrants suspected of heading for South Korea or Japan.
Xinhua said yesterday police found 26 suspects last Saturday and Tuesday at the Dalian port and train stations. The suspects had planned to be smuggled into South Korea.
Also on Tuesday, police found another group of suspects on two trucks near the Dalian industrial zone. They told police they were heading to another port city, Dandong, in Liaoning, from where they planned to travel to Shanghai for a ship to South Korea.
Xinhua said Dalian police had uncovered 25 human-smuggling cases this year and arrested 508 suspected illegal migrants and 48 snakeheads and their cohorts.
Earlier reports said while some of these illegal migrants were peasants seeking a better life, most were North Koreans organised by snakeheads to go to South Korea.
Xinhua also said a travel agency in Shanghai had sold forged passports to four Fujianese who tried to use them at Shanghai International Hongqiao Airport to go to Europe last Friday. The four were booked on a flight for Thailand. The forged documents were traced to the Dongying Travel Agency in Shanghai, where police found five more fake passports.
The Government has begun to relax restrictions on overseas travel for individuals in recent years but the relaxation also quickly led to organised human smuggling.