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Cops nab gang over Vietnam tour scam

POLICE in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region broke up a crime ring that stole from or swindled at least 1,000 tourists, the municipal security bureau of Fangchenggang said yesterday.

Officers said they caught 30 major members of the gang, which was allegedly responsible for 57 crime cases from April to November last year.

The cases involved 6.19 million yuan (US$907,625) that was obtained through robbery, racketeering and blackmail, according to the security bureau.

The group is based in Dongxing, a border city under the jurisdiction of Fangchenggang, and is allegedly headed by two brothers, Huang Yongjiu and Huang Yonghua.

Mang Cai trap

Police said the group bilked 1,000 Chinese tourists by arranging "one-day tours of the Sino-Vietnam border" for them. The suspects enticed the tourists to visit Mang Cai in Vietnam by illegally crossing the border and colluded with Vietnamese in the city to rob, cheat or blackmail the tourists.

The visitors were usually taken to a hotel in Mang Cai, where Vietnamese swindled them by selling shoddy wristwatches, jade or fake gold jewelry, police said.

The visitors were also blackmailed by being told they crossed the border illegally.

It took more than a year for the police to apprehend the crime ring after they received more than 50 complaints from victims. Their investigations were aided by their counterparts in Vietnam.

The police said the crime ring began their illegal "one-day tours" in September 2005. However, authorities said it was difficult for them to determine the exact number of people who had been swindled.


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