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"Snakeheads' arrested for trying to smuggle Chinese to South Korea

FIVE people, including two South Koreans, were arrested yesterday for allegedly organizing human trafficking across the Chinese border, a local newspaper reported today.

Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate Prosecutors' Office said the "snakeheads", or human traffickers, tried to smuggle 24 Chinese in two groups to South Korea, according to the Shanghai Morning Post report.

One Korean was reportedly responsible for recruiting smugglers in China with the help of a Chinese interpreter surnamed Bai, while the other tried to find ships to transport them with the help of a Chinese surnamed Jiang and girlfriend surnamed Lin, the report said.

Another South Korean who promised to take the Chinese to his country hatched the plot in May this year.

On June 11, Jiang, Lin and the South Korean talked with a ship owner in Wusong Dock in Baoshan District about the smuggling plan, the report said. On June 25 the foreigner paid the ship owner a deposit of 4,700 yuan (US$687), set the smuggling date at night on the next day, and promised to pay a total of 200,000 yuan after finishing the deal.

Police detained the five smugglers and the eight Chinese but the report didn't say when they were arrested.

Police said the detainees confessed to a failed attempt to smuggle another 16 Chinese on a wooden boat. All the Chinese, many of them peasants from Fujian and Jilin province, were arrested while the smugglers fled to Shanghai.

An investigation into the matter continues.


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