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        Border management strengthened to thwart people smugglers

        By YANG ZEKUN | China Daily | Updated: 2021-11-09 09:03
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        Officers inspect the border area in Jiexiang, Ruili. WANG JIANXUN/FOR CHINA DAILY

        The National Immigration Administration has pledged to tighten the management of border areas after a recent nationwide crackdown that saw police target a huge criminal network that illegally transported people across China's borders.

        The administration said on Friday that by working with departments under the Ministry of Public Security, it had arranged for the Yunnan Provincial General Station of Exit-Entry Frontier Inspection and public security organs in more than 60 cities to participate in the operation.

        Police arrested 1,292 suspects and filed 573 cases for investigation. They busted 38 places used to hide and organize people illegally crossing the border and seized 108 vehicles and ships. Police also froze 26 bank accounts and 1.75 million yuan ($273,600) of funds used to organize smuggling and seized 62 kilograms of methamphetamine.

        Through cooperation with overseas law enforcement agencies, five Chinese who arranged for people to sneak out of China and hide abroad were arrested and repatriated to China. Forty-five foreign criminal suspects were arrested and dealt with by overseas law enforcement agencies, the administration said.

        The operation had completely busted a number of criminal gangs that organized and facilitated illegal border crossings, said Liu Haitao, director of the administration's border inspection department.

        On Jan 24, the Pu'er border management detachment in Yunnan carried out an inspection in the border area and seized three Chinese hiding in a truck that had driven inland from the border area. After investigations, police then arrested five illegal immigrants. Through further investigations and cooperation with overseas law enforcement agencies, police found that the criminal network extended to over 60 cities.

        "The gangs formed an extensive network and are active on China's southwest border and in border areas of adjacent countries," Liu said.

        "By colluding with each other, they organized and transported Chinese citizens in and out of the country illegally to engage in telecom fraud, online gambling and drug trafficking."

        An operation targeting such crimes launched by the Ministry of Public Security in December has seen police nationwide resolve 14,973 criminal cases and arrest 35,777 suspects and 36,921 people who entered or exited the country illegally, the administration said.

        As the crackdown intensifies and land border control measures are strengthened, some people-smuggling gangs have resorted to using sea routes for their crimes, said Lu Bingjiang, deputy head of the ministry office leading the special operation targeting crimes impinging on border management.

        The administration said 154 cases of smuggling through sea channels have been investigated, and 560 suspects and 727 people attempting to sneak out of the country have been arrested.

        "The administration has made intensive efforts to hunt down major suspects who are on the run for crimes of disrupting border management and ringleaders who organized the smuggling, with 36 fugitives captured since Sept 29," Liu said.

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