Mon, Feb 23, 2004 - Page 2 News List

People-smuggling bust nets 68 illegal Chinese immigrants

TAIPEI , CNA

The third phase of an ongoing operation to crack down on people-smuggling caught 68 illegal Chinese immigrants and 15 Taiwanese citizens, an Executive Yuan task force reported yesterday.

The latest operation began at 10pm on Saturday and was conducted by a joint force initiated by the Executive Yuan to hunt down people smugglers and manned by agents from the Coast Guard Administration and the Criminal Investigation Bureau.

Since the operation began on Nov. 1 last year, 873 illegal Chinese and 236 Taiwanese had been taken into custody, said a spokesman for the task force.

The spokesman said that in accordance with Article 79 of the Statute Governing Relations Between People from the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) passed by the Legislative Yuan last year, people caught running cross-strait human trafficking operations face jail terms of up to five years and fines of up to NT$10 million if convicted.

Owners of boats used for human trafficking could have their shipping rights suspended, licenses revoked or their vessels confiscated, the spokesman said.

Executive Yuan task force officials urged the public to help law-enforcement authorities thwart cross-strait human trafficking by calling police at 110 or by calling the Coast Guard Administration at 118 if they see any suspicious individuals or activities.

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