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Airport people traffickers jailed

EIGHTEEN members of a human trafficking gang, including 12 Beijing airport workers, were yesterday sentenced for up to 15 years imprisonment.

The court said the gang had attempted to smuggle 26 people on eight separate occasions from February 2006 through December 2007, today's Caijing Magazine reported.

Thirteen people had got to Canada but the other attempts failed because of rigorous frontier security.

The operation was uncovered when four would-be emigrants from southeast China's Fujian Province were detected on a flight to Canada's Vancouver in November 2007.

The four told police they were each charged 500,000 yuan (US$73,138) by the gang.

Police said the ringleaders, Lu Jianming and Zheng Deduan - who is still at large - had contacted would-be emigrants from across the nation and taken money from them.

When the people arrived in Beijing, Zhou and other airport workers arranged for them to ride in Air China Cargo's vehicles to the apron where the plane was waiting.

The people then got on the plane using boarding passes from foreigners who had been hired by the gang. The foreigners went to the apron after passing through the usual normal customs controls.

The foreigners were taken back from the apron in the work vehicle.

The Beijing Intermediate People's Court sentenced the gang's mastermind, Lu Jianming, to 15 years in jail and imposed 14-year terms on two airport workers, Zhou Zhuang, who was with the Beijing General Station of Exit and Entry Frontier Inspection, and Liu Haibing, a security guard.

Three South Korean students in the gang were reprieved as they had played minor roles and showed regret, the court said. They were not exiled.

The court spent half an hour reading the 70-page verdict.

For successfully helping each would-be emigrant, Zhou received more than 100,000 yuan, the court said. He kept 40,000 yuan after distributing the rest to other airport workers involved.


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