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People-smuggling charges laid

CITY prosecutors yesterday announced they would charge two South Korean natives and three Chinese with people smuggling.

Two ship stowaway scams have been cracked by police, the latest taking place in Shanghai.

Prosecutors have not named the suspects but said they were two South Korean men, one of them believed to have a history of people smuggling, as well as a Chinese native, his girlfriend and another woman who interpreted for the South Koreans.

Prosecutors said one of the South Koreans initiated the scams. He allegedly told the others they could expect to receive "several thousand yuan" in pay for each Chinese they successfully smuggled to South Korea.

Police seized the five suspects and six of their clients before the arranged stowaway scheduled on the evening of June 26, according to prosecutors.

The stowaways hail from Fujian and Jilin provinces, police said.

The trip arrangers had found a private boat and promised the owner 200,000 yuan (US$29,260) in return for the trip to South Korea, prosecutors said.

They managed to flee to Shanghai after failing in a similar stowaway bid on the evening of June 1, said prosecutors, who would not reveal location of that attempt.

That boat, carrying 16 stowaways, was intercepted by police soon after it set off.


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