Hong Kong, mainland China authorities smash people-smuggling service for Vietnamese
Two syndicate bosses sentenced to 24 and 32 months’ jail
A people smuggling syndicate that provided a “one-stop service” to Vietnamese nationals seeking illegal entry to Hong Kong for work has been smashed by city and mainland Chinese authorities, with its two leaders sentenced to 24 and 32 months’ imprisonment.
The joint operation, codenamed “Firenet” and conducted in Guangdong Province and Hong Kong in January 2015, also saw 21 people arrested, with nine subsequently sentenced to fines or imprisonment.
The syndicate bosses, a 44-year-old Vietnamese Hong Kong resident and her ex-husband, a 57-year-old Hong Kong resident, pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering.
The woman also pleaded guilty to a charge of being in possession of forged Hong Kong identity cards.
The two were convicted at the District Court, with the man sentenced on Friday to 24 month’s imprisonment, and the woman to 32 months.
In addition, 11 men and 10 women aged 23 to 61, comprising eight Hong Kong residents, 12 Vietnamese and one mainland resident, were arrested for various offences during the operation. These included seeking illegal entry to Hong Kong and remaining in the city without the authorisation of the Director of Immigration, and taking up unapproved employment.
Among those arrested, nine were subsequently convicted and received sentences ranging from a fine of $2,000 to 15 months’ imprisonment.
The number of non-ethnic Chinese illegal immigrants intercepted trying to enter Hong Kong doubled last year to 3,819 from a year earlier, with almost 60 per cent coming from Vietnam.