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Illegals Arriving in Suitcases?
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Feb 5, 8:50 am ET

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Illegal immigrants from India and Pakistan are being smuggled from mainland China to Hong Kong inside suitcases, the South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday.

Curled up in large suitcases, they are wheeled across the Lowu border point between Hong Kong and mainland China by smugglers who are paid HK$500 (US$64) for each trip.

These Indian and Pakistani nationals arrive in mainland China on tourist visas and pay between US$250 and US$300 to be smuggled to Hong Kong, usually during peak hours when customs officers are less likely to examine luggage, the newspaper said.

A syndicate, which has up to six smugglers on hand on any given day with valid visas to enter Hong Kong, has been conducting the smuggling operation since mid-2001, it quoted a source as saying.

These "pilots" wheel the immigrants through the checkpoint in large, cloth suitcases which let in air to prevent suffocation.

Comment from Hong Kong police was not immediately available.

Illegal immigrants from China, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Indian subcontinent abound in Hong Kong where they hope to make a living and send much-needed cash home.

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