News/Australia: Australia says it has smashed Olympics Thai immigration ring

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Subject: News/Australia: Australia says it has smashed Olympics Thai immigration ring
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Tue Nov 16 1999 - 12:12:32 EST


Australia says it has smashed Olympics Thai immigration ring
Agence France Presse, November 7, 1999

CANBERRA -- Australian immigration officials claimed Monday they had
smashed an Olympics immigration scam in Thailand that would have brought
hundreds of Chinese people to Australia illegally.

According to an immigration department publication, a man was arrested in
Bangkok earlier this year after allegedly trying to recruit Chinese
nationals to work for the Sydney Olympics.

The man falsely claimed to represent Olympic organisers and advertised in a
local Chinese newspaper, saying he was looking for Chinese nationals to
work in Sydney during the Games as broadcasting staff, chefs, computer
operators, and guides.

The man promised an annual salary of up to 35,000 Australian dollars
(22,400 US) once they paid a sign-on fee of 4,000 dollars to cover language
tuition and an Australian visa.

Immigration officials said they have now posted extra officers to key
countries to uncover such scams ahead of the Sydney Games.

"They will work with the local authorities to identify people who may pose
a threat to Australia," the publication said.

Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock said the government was committed to
ensuring Australian workers benefited first from the Olympics job boom.

"These are Australia's Games and it is only right that Australian workers
should benefit," Ruddock said in his department's Olympics publication.

"Should companies want to bring skilled or professional labour from
overseas, they can negotiate Labour agreements ... to fill proven labour
shortages.

Ruddock is in China this week, on a visit aimed at discouraging the
country's growing trade in people-smuggling.

Melanie Orhant

morhant@igc.org
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