The Judiciary Police (PJ), in collaboration with the Macau Customs Service, the Guangdong Public Security Department and the Zhuhai Public Security Bureau, have busted a people-smuggling gang which helped Vietnamese illegally enter Macau and also work here illegally, PJ spokesman Leng Kam Lon said during a special press conference Monday.
According to Leng, the gang arranged for Vietnamese to swim from Zhuhai to Macau to illegally enter the city.
According to Leng, the Judiciary Police received a tip-off from the Guangdong Public Security Department and the Zhuhai Public Security Bureau in March that a people-smuggling gang was helping Vietnamese illegally enter the mainland and that the gang would then subsequently help some of the Vietnamese to illegally enter Macau.
PJ officers discovered that four members of the gang in Macau had helped a number of Vietnamese illegally enter Macau from the mainland in the middle of this month, according to Leng.
After investigating and collecting evidence, the law enforcement agencies of Macau and the mainland took joint action on Saturday, Leng said. In Macau, police and customs officers arrested 18 people on a construction site and in several residential units across the city. No construction permit has been issued by the government for construction work on the construction site in Rua Formosa, according to Leng.
Among the 18 arrested people, 14 are illegal immigrants from Vietnam and two are Vietnamese overstayers. The other two people involved, one is a 35-year-old female non-resident worker from the mainland who had provided accommodation for Vietnamese illegal immigrants, while the other is a 62-year-old local man who had hired Vietnamese illegal immigrants for construction work or renovation work in Macau, according to Leng.
On the mainland, the police also arrested 18 people in multiple locations in Guangdong province and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Leng said.
Among the 18 people arrested on the mainland, eight people,comprising three mainlanders and five Vietnamese, are alleged kingpins and members of the people smuggling gang, while the other 10 people are illegal immigrants from Vietnam, according to Leng.
Leng said that the local police believe that the gang had been operating for two years.
According to Leng, the modus operandi of the gang was that gang members arranged for the Vietnamese to illegally enter the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region first. The gang then transported them to Zhuhai, so that they could swim to Macau.
According to Leng, the gang gave the Vietnamese two options to illegally enter Macau. One option was that those who could swim were charged 4,000 yuan. The other option was that those who could not swim were provided with a lifejacket. During the process, “snakeheads” of the gang helped them swim using a piece of rope. For this option, they were chamed between 5,000 yuan and 5,500 yuan.
According to The Macau Post in Cantonese jargon, people smugglers are popularly known as “snakeheads”.