NEWS:At least 27 Japanese held in smuggling racket

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Jyothi Kanics---Global Survival Network (jkanics@igc.apc.org)
Thu, 29 Oct 1998 09:16:47 -0800 (PST)


At least 27 Japanese held in smuggling racket

TOKYO, Oct. 26 (Kyodo) -- At least 27 Japanese nationals helped smuggle
Chinese into Japan by selling their Japanese passports to a Chinese
smuggling ring and then accompanying the Chinese from China to Japan,
police sources said Monday.

The Japanese sold their passports to a ''snakehead'' ring while in China,
according to sources with the Metropolitan Police Department and with the
Nara and Osaka prefectural police.

The ring falsified the passports, replacing the page with the photograph of
the holder with a newly printed page bearing the photograph of a would-be
Chinese immigrant.

By falsely claiming to the Japanese consulate in China that they had lost
their passports, the Japanese obtained identification papers enabling them
to make their return trip to Japan.

The Japanese then accompanied the Chinese with altered passports, but they
were careful that the original holder of the passport did not travel in the
same group as the illegal immigrant, police said.

Police have arrested 27 Japanese and 10 Chinese so far on suspicion of
being involved in the fake passport scam.

Police sources said they suspect that Japanese underworld organizations are
involved in the crimes because leaders of the Yamaguchi-gumi syndicate are
among the suspects.

Some of the suspects have told police they went to China from July last
year to May this year. They reportedly sold their passports for about
200,000 yen each to a member of the snakehead ring and accompanied the
Chinese to Japan in four different groups.

Many of the suspects are residents of Nara Prefecture, western Japan,
police said.


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