Twenty-nine Chinese who expected to enter illegally South Korea were caught on Thursday, November 17, at Wusong International Cruise Ship Terminal by Shanghai immigration police.
Immigration inspection authorities said this was the largest case of “human smuggling” to have been discovered at ports in the city.
Police attention was aroused by two men who were looking tense and nervous among 5,000 or so passengers lining up to clear customs to board the luxury Quantum of the Seas cruise ship headed for Inchon, South Korea.
The two men from Jiangxi Province, surnamed Chen and Tu, said they were going to South Korea as tourists, but later confessed they wanted to work illegally in the country, according to Pujiang Inspection Station.
They also told police that one of them had paid 40,000 yuan (US$5,820) and the other 50,000 yuan to a man surnamed Gong to take the cruise ship to South Korea, with the aim of staying there illegally to work.
Gong was suspected of organizing an illegal immigration group and police officers were sent to find him. He was found in the departure lobby of the terminal. Police discovered he was carrying a list with the names of 28 people, including Chen and Tu. The list also noted the amounts of money paid.
Everyone on the list was rounded up and handed over to Shanghai public security authorities.
The inspection station staff said Gong had booked tourist tickets via a travel agency for the 28 people. They were given paperwork showing false career identities, such as company managers or senior employees.
After arriving in South Korea, Gong intended to hand his charges over to local traffickers to arrange jobs for them, said inspection authorities, adding some of the 28 people were related to each other.
Among them were a father and a son from an impoverished family. The father, who wanted money to enable his son to marry successfully, had heard from relatives that it was easy to make a fortune by working in South Korea. He said he had paid Gong 100,000 yuan to find him and his son jobs.
Another man said he was going to South Korea to make enough money for his father to be cured of throat cancer. All the family savings had been used to pay for the cruise.