Five more arrested over IIs

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 November, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 November, 2000, 12:00am

Police have arrested five more men over the attempted smuggling of 26 stowaways to the United States from Hong Kong by container ship.

Investigators say several other suspects have fled to the mainland.

Eight people have now been picked up in connection with the case, said Superintendent Shing Pui-fun, of the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau, although the ringleaders were still at large. The five men and the three alleged gang members arrested last month have been released on bail. It is understood some of the suspects were involved in container and transport businesses, while the rest were friends or associates.

Mr Shing said three to four other members of the trafficking gang had fled to the mainland and detectives had contacted the Public Security Bureau to help find them. He said they were still trying to identify the masterminds behind the gang, which is believed to include mainlanders.

The stowaways were discovered on October 18 when Customs officers patrolling Kwai Chung container terminal found 26 men sleeping inside a sealed container that had been modified to include ventilation holes. The container was to have been loaded on to a container ship heading to Long Beach, California.

The stowaways were from Fuzhou in Fujian province. Twenty-four are serving jail sentences of between three and 15 months. Two are helping police with the investigation and their sentences have been deferred.