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Chinese cops bust Costa Rica visa scam

CHINESE police have detained two suspects who allegedly attempted to smuggle about 300 youngsters into Costa Rica, a spokesman for the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau said yesterday.

An investigation began when diplomats from the Costa Rican Embassy in Beijing told local police in December that they had received about 300 visa applications since last May, and the applicants - all from south China's Guangdong Province and mostly youngsters - claimed they hoped to reunite with parents who had settled in Costa Rica.

The embassy officials suspected that the ID cards and birth certificates of the applicants were forged.

Beijing police then traveled to the southern province and launched an investigation into the case together with their Guangdong counterparts.

Human smuggling

During the investigation, officers found that the parents of the applicants were all living in China and their application documents were fabricated. Police then concluded they were dealing with a human smuggling organization, the spokesman said.

Police narrowed their list of suspected human traffickers to 43-year-old Cen Shuiman and 36-year-old Zheng Anqiang, both from Guangdong's Enping City.

When Cen was detained on February 25, police confiscated several forged visa application documents and an account book recording the fees charged to applicants. Zheng was detained a month later.

The two men confessed that they had colluded with "snakeheads" overseas to attempt to smuggle youngsters into Costa Rica using fake visa documents, the spokesman said.


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