Paris trial of alleged Chinese children smugglers

23rd May 2005, Comments 0 comments

BOBIGNY, France, May 23 (AFP) - Twelve Chinese and French nationals went on trial in the Paris suburbs on Monday for their involvement in a vast illegal immigration network that helped more than 500 Chinese minors to enter France.

BOBIGNY, France, May 23 (AFP) - Twelve Chinese and French nationals went on trial in the Paris suburbs on Monday for their involvement in a vast illegal immigration network that helped more than 500 Chinese minors to enter France.  

Those on trial in the criminal court in Bobigny, north of Paris, stand accused of aiding and abetting the illegal entry or residence of foreign minors in France, charging their parents up to EUR 24,000 (USD 30,000).  

The underground immigration network was first uncovered in 2002 when police noticed a sudden jump in the number of minors from Wenzhou in eastern China reporting to Paris area police stations, either alone or in groups.  

The Chinese teens were asking French authorities to grant them citizenship upon their 18th birthdays.  

Many of the minors first entered France legally on multiple-entry student visas, at the invitation of a language school based in the Marne region east of Paris.  

The students then left France, supposedly to allow them to continue their language studies in Switzerland. Some of the minors then returned to France to live, despite the fact that their visas were expired.  

The trial was set to run through Thursday or Friday.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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