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May 20, 2010

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Home » Metro » Education

Illegal study-in-US ring broken

TWENTY-FOUR people have been nabbed for allegedly organizing people to immigrate illegally to the United States and dangling the promise of study abroad, Shanghai police said yesterday.

The case is the first to be solved through the joint efforts of Chinese and US police, the Shanghai Public Security Bureau said.

Police said a gang posted online advertisements offering assistance in immigration, and forged fake resumes, transcripts and financial certificates to enable clients to apply to US colleges.

Once the client got the enrollment document from the college, he or she would be quickly trained to pass the visa application. Every applicant was charged 160,000 yuan (US$23,430) after getting the visa.

More than 510,000 yuan were confiscated in the crackdown.

Police in the US were still investigating the American middlemen who expedited the bogus applications in America, police said.

The suspects attracted Shanghai police attention during a residency check two years ago.

Police found that a house in the Pudong New Area functioned as an English language training center for college applicants.

"Four English teachers were hired to train 15 clients as a group in about half a month to make their oral English good enough to pass the visa interview," a police officer said.

The training schedule was "very well-planned," with courses running from 8am to 8pm with two breaks. Trainees had to go to bed before 10pm, police said. The courses consisted of memorizing 100 often-used sentences.

Not all the applicants were good enough in English to get the visa, police said.

When the applicants did make it to the US, many felt lost there, police said. With poor language skills they could hardly find jobs, and with no legal identification they couldn't get government assistance and they worried constantly about being discovered, police said.


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