Appeals court upholds Dover smuggling jail terms
21 October 2004, AMSTERDAM — An appeals court in The Hague has upheld jail sentences on a group of Chinese nationals convicted of trafficking people into western Europe.
21 October 2004
AMSTERDAM — An appeals court in The Hague has upheld jail sentences on a group of Chinese nationals convicted of trafficking people into western Europe.
Two of the accused were convicted in relation to a transport during which 58 illegal Chinese immigrants suffocated among crates of tomatoes in the back of a truck. Customs officers at the British ferry port of Dover made the gruesome discovery when they opened the truck in June 2000.
The Dutch driver Perry Wacker was subsequently jailed for 14 years by a British court on manslaughter charges. He had closed an air vent in the trailer of the truck to prevent anyone hearing the immigrants hiding inside.
The Dutch Appeals Court confirmed the conviction of the two men who helped organise the shipment and imposed jails terms of five and four years on them. One of the men had a six-year term imposed by the trial court reduced to five.
The Appeals court also confirmed the three-year term on Sister Ping, the woman the authorities claimed was the leader of the smuggling ring. Giving its ruling Thursday, the court said there was evidence she led the gang, but it had not been proven she had organised the Dover transport.
The court rejected the prosecution's call for a 10-year sentence and confirmed the trial court's term. She will be released as she has already served the equivalent of her sentence in custody.
The prosecution alleged Sister Ping was the biggest "snakehead", or Chinese human smuggler, in Europe.
The other four defendants before the appeals court received jail terms ranging from six to 30 months for their involvement in the smuggling gang, but not for participating in the Dover transport.
Seven others have received sentences of up to 10 years on appeal for the Dover deaths.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news