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November 2, 2009

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HK seizes 20 from tiny boat

NINE Afghans were among 20 people crammed into a small wooden vessel found adrift in waters near Hong Kong, a police spokesman said yesterday.

Officers arrested all the passengers, also from Pakistan and Nepal, on suspicion of illegal entry, police spokesman Michael Kwan said.

Police also arrested a 24-year-old Chinese mainland man who was suspected of leading the smuggling operation, he said.

Hong Kong's marine police intercepted the vessel early on Saturday off the western tip of the New Territories, a piece of land linked to the mainland, Kwan said.

The South China Morning Post newspaper reported that the Afghans included a couple with their two sons, along with another woman. The rest of the passengers were men.

The Post said each had paid 4,000 yuan (US$586) to 5,000 yuan for passage from Shenzhen to Hong Kong.


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