The story appears on

Page A3

July 13, 2015

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Nation

Immigrants sent back to China ‘on way to join jihad’

A TOTAL of 109 illegal immigrants who were repatriated from Thailand to China last Thursday had been on their way to Turkey, Syria or Iraq to join jihad, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Several recruitment gangs were uncovered in Turkey by a Chinese police investigation, which also discovered that Turkish diplomats in some Southeast Asian countries had facilitated the illegal movement of people.

A large number of radicalized Chinese and the heads of organized gangs, known as snakeheads, have been deported from Southeast Asia this year, the ministry said.

Of the 109 individuals returned to China last week, 13 had fled China after being implicated in terrorist activities, and another two had escaped detention, the ministry said.

According to their accounts, many had been radicalized by material released by the World Uygur Congress and the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, it said.

The recruitment gangs had used religious extremism to encourage people to go to Syria and Iraq to participate in jihad.

Some snakeheads, including Mehmut Obulela, one of the people repatriated, told police the gangs were well established and had a clear hierarchy. They organized people to travel over land or sea through countries including Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand to enter Turkey.

After arriving in Turkey, many, led by the ETIM terrorist group, went on to Syria to join the fighting. Even those who did not get as far as Syria were involved in jihadist activities wherever they had stopped, they said.

A terrorist attack on a railway station in Kunming, capital of southwest China’s Yunnan Province, on March 1 last year was the work of terrorists who had failed to illegally leave China. The attack resulted in the deaths of 31 people and injuries to 141 others.

Police also found that some radicalized people, instructed by the ETIM, were trained in Syria or Iraq and then returned to China to expand their terrorist network.

These individuals were also implicated in terrorist activities. Police arrested many of these returnees and uncovered several terrorist plots this year, the ministry said.

Each illegal immigrant had to pay several thousand dollars to snakeheads. Most of the funds were finally remitted to bank accounts opened by ETIM terrorists, according to police.

Investigations showed that the illegal immigration was organized by people in Turkey.

‘Helping out’ a suspect

Chinese police said they had detained 22 Turkish suspects since October last year who had admitted being directed and assisted by organizers in Turkey.

Police also said Turkish diplomats to a Southeast Asian country had directly participated in “helping out” a suspect, Eli Ahmad, in September last year.

The Chinese suspect was a member of an illegal migration gang, but Turkish diplomats claimed he was a Turkish citizen and pressed local authorities to release him. Eli Ahmad was finally transported to Turkey and is still at large.

Last month, Chinese police cooperated with counterparts in Southeast Asia to seize 653 fabricated Turkish passports at a suspect’s residence.

Some subordinate organizations of the Turkey-based World Uygur Congress frequently sent their members to Southeast Asian countries to mastermind illegal migration, police said.

They also colluded with some Turkish politicians and forces to assist the illegal migration and “rescue” those detained.

A Ministry of Public Security official said the Chinese government has always been cracking down on illegal migration and violent terrorist crimes.

Those repatriated to China would be treated according to the law. Those suspected of crimes would be dealt with following legal procedures while the others would receive appropriate treatment after being educated, the official said.

He praised the Thai police for repatriating illegal immigrants.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend