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October 9, 2012

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5 charged in human smuggling

FIVE people were in court yesterday, charged with helping dozens of stowaways try to sneak into the United States inside airplanes, the Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People's Court heard.

Shao Zhihua, identified as the leader, is a 57-year-old Chinese-American.

Prosecutors said Shao and his nephew Chen Yanlin trained stowaways how to get into the flight attendants' lounge at the rear of the plane using keys, screwdrivers and lubricants.

They would then hide inside the lounge during their first trip from China to a transit country, usually the Philippines, prosecutors said.

"The clients would hide in between layers until the plane took off for the United States," Chen said.

Between March 2009 and June 2011, the five suspects are accused of helping at least 30 stowaways.

One gang member said they charged US$80,000 for each stowaway.

The court didn't announce a verdict yesterday.


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