The largest known cross-strait human--trafficking syndicate responsible for smuggling potentially hundreds of Chinese nationals into Canada and Australia was targeted in a National Immigration Agency (NIA) operation yesterday that resulted in the arrest of more than 40 smugglers.
The agency’s border affairs corps discovered evidence in 2010 that former snakehead Feng Sheng-hsiung (封勝雄), who had previously been involved with the group and just been released from jail, had gone back into the human--trafficking business with a cross-strait -trafficking group allegedly run by Wang Cheng-wei (王呈瑋).
Feng made a name for himself in 2005, when he smuggled hundreds of Chinese into Canada and the US by securing boarding passes for the group using fake passports.
According to the agency, Wang would first purchase Republic of China (ROC) passports and then China-based human--trafficking groups would search for people in Fujian Province wanting to be smuggled to Canada and Australia, and add their photographs to the passports.
Their operations were then divided into two parts, the first accomplished by arranging “heads” to apply for Canadian and Australian visas, who were then smuggled into the airport’s restricted area by snakeheads and distributed to those being smuggled in transit at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
During the second part of an operation another member of the group would board a plane heading to Canada or Australia with the Chinese nationals, and help them get past immigration and customs control once they landed.
The group conducted more than 50 successful operations, smuggling one to four Chinese per operation, the agency said, adding that the group made a profit of between US$50,000 and US$70,000 for every person smuggled.
It is estimated that the group made more than NT$100 million (US$3.34 million) and smuggled hundreds of Chinese into those countries, the agency said, adding that the group could very well be the “largest human--trafficking group in Asia, Australia and North America.”
The Taoyuan District Prosecutors’ Office detained Wang and others in February for questioning.
Since Wang’s detention, the agency has worked in close conjunction with the Australian Office and Canadian Trade Office in Taipei and cracked multiple cases of human--trafficking into those countries.
The office’s initial application to the district court for an extended period of custody was approved, granting the office custody of Wang and other suspects until the end of last month, when they were released on bail and told to report to the district court at a later date.