French police bust Chinese people-traffickers
Police busted a major people-trafficking ring that charged Chinese migrants thousands of dollars to bring them to Europe, the French government said on Thursday.
French police arrested a Chinese national who masterminded the ring, which charged migrants up to 15,000 euros (20,000 dollars) to smuggle them to France, Italy, Spain and Luxembourg, the immigration ministry said.
"The new Franco-Chinese partnership in the fight against irregular immigration rings is bearing fruit," it said in a statement.
In raids in France and China on July 15 police from both countries detained several members of a Chinese network, the ministry added.
In a further swoop in Paris on July 27 they detained "clients of the ring" -- immigrants who had been brought to France illegally.
"A Chinese national living in Paris is believed to be the main organiser of the ring, arranging the illegal entry of his compatriots into France," the statement said.
Other leaders of the gang were based in Shanghai, it added.
"Investigations showed that the network is well structured and the price of immigration varied from 12,000 to 15,000 euros per 'client'," it said, describing the network as a "major irregular immigration ring."
The ministry said French immigration police had increased cooperation with their Chinese counterparts under an initiative launched in March.
© 2010 AFP