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Soccer player caught after visa overstay

A SOCCER player from an African country is in custody for overstaying his visa for more than two years, the Shanghai Entry-Exit Administration said yesterday.

The unnamed man, who used to play in a forward position in a major soccer club in his own country, came to Guangdong Province in 2006 with a 30-day visa, the administration said.

The player expected to make money fast in China, after hearing overseas soccer players can make big profits by playing for struggling teams in China.

However, he failed to find a job during his first two weeks in Guangdong because of stiff competition among overseas players. He gradually ran out of money, officials said.

The man then started to earn a living by exporting small articles from Guangzhou, Guangdong's capital, and Yiwu City in Zhejiang Province, to his own country, the administration said.

He also sold his passport for US$400 in Guangzhou to get some cash to start the business, officials said. Since his passport was still effective at that time, other foreigners illegally overstaying in China could have used it to deceive border police and get out of the country, said the administration.

In 2008, the player forged a passport for his own use so he could register at hotels, the administration said.

The player arrived in Shanghai recently to buy wholesale goods. He was caught by Shanghai's entry-exit police after presenting the fake passport in a hotel a few days ago.

"He was caught because the original passport he copied was also a fake," an official said. "The holder of the original passport is in our system for having stayed illegally in China."


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