The Judiciary Police (PJ) and the Zhuhai Public Security Bureau have jointly busted a people-smuggling gang which helped mainlanders enter and leave Macau illegally via a construction site near the Zhuhai-Macau land border in Ilha Verde, PJ spokesman Leng Kam Lon said during a special press conference on Wednesday.
In a joint operation on Tuesday night, the local police arrested a suspected member of the gang and caught four illegal immigrants at the construction site, while the Zhuhai police arrested two suspected kingpins and two members of the gang there.
According to Leng, the gang, which had been operating for one month, arranged for illegal immigrants to enter the construction site from Zhuhai through a small hole. The illegal immigrants then pretended to be construction workers who joined the bona fide workers when they were leaving the site at night.
Leng said that the gang, run by mainlanders, made use of the construction site located in Estrada do Canal dos Patos to help illegal immigrants enter and leave Macau illegally. While Leng did not reveal the location of the construction site, but sources said the gang most likely used the construction site of the ongoing Qingmao border checkpoint project for its people-smuggling operation.
The Qingmao border checkpoint will consist of a Macau checkpoint building and a Zhuhai checkpoint building. The whole Qingmao checkpoint complex — including the Zhuhai-side building — is built by the Macau government. The whole project is being paid for by the Macau government, with the Guangdong government providing all the necessary support tasks for the project. The Zhuhai-side building will be situated on land owned by the Zhuhai government.
The Judiciary Police said at Wednesday’s press conference that they were recently tipped off that a people-smuggling gang was helping mainlanders enter Macau illegally from Zhuhai via the construction site in Estrada do Canal dos Patos in Ilha Verde. Through their cross-border communication mechanism, the Macau and Zhuhai police launched their joint operation, during which PJ officers arrested a member of the gang and caught four illegal immigrants at one of the entrances to the construction site on Tuesday night, according to Leng.
Leng identified the gang member arrested in Macau as a 30-year-old male mainlander surnamed Wu who told the police that he works as a construction worker on the mainland. The four illegal immigrants from the mainland, aged between 28 and 33, comprise three men and a woman. The three men were attempting to illegally enter Macau, while the woman was attempting to illegally leave Macau.
Around the same time, the Zhuhai police arrested two kingpins and two members of the gang there and seized a car used to transport illegal immigrants to the Zhuhai side of the construction site, according to Leng, who did not mention their gender.
Up to 28,000 yuan
According to Leng, the gang charged each illegal immigrant between 16,000 and 28,000 yuan (between 18,290 and 32,000 patacas). The four illegal immigrants told PJ officers that they came to Macau to gamble in casinos.
The gang’s modus operandi, according to Wednesday’s press conference, was that some members of the gang had previously reconnoitred the construction site to familiarise themselves with the area where they discovered a small hole in a “hidden” location.
The gang arranged for those wanting to illegally enter Macau to secretly enter the construction site from Zhuhai via the small hidden hole, according to Leng, who said that before they could enter the construction site, they needed to climb the equivalent of five storeys and crawl through a 10-metre-long passage “full of bends.”
Gang members had also stolen a number of items used by construction workers such as hard hats, reflective workwear and safety shoes, before the gang arranged for those who had entered the construction site from Zhuhai to pretend to be construction workers by wearing these items. Those pretending to be construction workers then joined the bonafide construction workers when the latter were leaving the construction site at the end of the working day so that the former could illegally enter Macau, according to Leng.
According to the Macau Post Daily, Leng described the process of the illegal immigrants entering Macau as dangerous.
Wu — the suspected gang member arrested in Macau — and the four illegal immigrants have been transferred to the Public Prosecution Office (MP) for further questioning. Wu faces possible charges of membership of a criminal organisation as well as aiding and abetting illegal immigration.