Think wa-a-a-ay back: You are a rambunctious Grade Schooler and you discover that a substitute teacher is coming in. Oh boy! The fun! The pranks! The hi-jinks! The cruel exploitation of all that trusting innocence … … Welcome to Canada __________________________
All 254 Chinese nationals aboard the first two boats of migrants that landed on the B.C. coast this summer were headed to the United States, according to a Citizenship and Immigration report. … One of the men said that while still in China he was coached in the event of his capture to tell Canadian authorities that he would remain in this country. (Vancouver Province, Sept. 3, 1999)
European tour operators selling Canadian visas: TORONTO – A report on CBC Radio Friday says Canadian visas are being offered for sale in Eastern European newspapers, for as much as $2,500 US. The ads also say results are guaranteed, cash on delivery. Some members of Canada’s Bulgarian community are denouncing the scams which they say allow dishonest migrants to cheat the system, while their own relatives who refuse to pay are denied the right to visit family members in Canada. The ads don’t say where the visas are coming from, but Bulgarian-Canadians say they’re real. “If there is a person who would like to come to visit their relatives, the only way is to pay,” a member of the Bulgarian-Canadian community told CBC News. A spokeswoman for Immigration Canada says the department has investigated one so-called tour operator in Belgrade, but suspended the investigation when NATO bombing forced the embassy to shut down. They say THE SCAM CONTINUES IN CANADA, WHERE SOME OF THE PEOPLE WORKING WITH THE GOVERNMENT TO ASSIST THE NEW ARRIVALS ARE ALLEGED TO BE ENCOURAGING THEM TO CLAIM REFUGEE STATUS AS PERSECUTED GYPSIES OR ETHNIC MACEDONIANS. The majority of the almost 500 Bulgarians who’ve claimed refugee status in the past three years have been accepted. But AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL OFFICIALS SAY THEY’VE NEVER HEARD OF THE PERSECUTION OF MACEDONIANS IN BULGARIA. Bulgaria’s consul-general says he’s also aware of the alleged scam and doesn’t like the fact that his country’s image is being tarnished. But he says THERE’S NOT MUCH BULGARIA CAN DO IF CANADA CHOOSES TO ACCEPT THE CLAIMS. (CBC Radio, Fri Sep 3 1999)
Incompetence? Sure. That’s been the byword at Immigration Canada as long as any of us can remember. The problem is the preponderance of cases like this where foreign officials finally bring a scam to the attention of Canada’s watchmen, who can barely stifle a yawn. We enjoy an embarrassment of cases like this where illegals are “intercepted” – not by us – but outside agencies (as the first intercepted shipload of boatpeople were). Canada monitors immigration activity through ancient, wheezing, insecure computer and tracking systems which serve up ‘guesstimates’ and ‘hopeful possibilities’, while fostering a touching faith that all is well – or will be – because people are ‘basically good’. Worst of all is the kind of policy-making we see at the very highest levels: forever shaped by refugee agencies, immigration lawyers, and special interest arm twisters, while tax paying citizens are ruthlessly excluded from the process. Our immigration law is so droolingly incompetent that we might be further ahead if we simply locked the doors of the costly and useless agency, and allowed everyone in — thus cutting out the expensive litigation and assistance process. Last but not least, where no exploitable loophole exists, there’s always a tax subsidized trip to the Supreme Court. Just how high up does the corruption go? _____________________________
OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE PROBLEMS – AND THE WILL TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THEM
A new immigration bill for Britain- “Thirty-three illegal immigrants were seized at Dover in the space of four hours this morning from three separate lorries. They were found by a sniffer dog. … Last month, 1,130 illegal immigrants had entered Britain through Dover alone – a third as many for the port as the whole of last year (3,212). Today’s operation comes amid mounting condemnation of the Government’s immigration strategy. Kent MPs have warned that Dover is being “overwhelmed” by asylum seekers given temporary B&B accommodation in the town while their applications are being processed. Last month, some LOCAL YOUTHS WERE STABBED AT A FUNFAIR IN THE TOWN AFTER A CONFRONTATION WITH A GROUP OF ASYLUM SEEKERS. Home Secretary Jack Straw admits in the local newspaper, the Dover Express, that the town has had a “raw deal” and said the Government is working “flat out” to solve the problem. While Mr Straw believes his Immigration and Asylum Bill, CURRENTLY GOING THROUGH PARLIAMENT, will save the day, he will find little encouragement in today’s figures. (Evening Standard, September 3, 1999) —- Boatpeople promptly deported from Australia- Another 85 Chinese boatpeople have been deported from the Port Hedland detention centre. Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock says all were from China’s Fujian Province and arrived in May and June. … Mr Ruddock says 186 illegal Chinese entrants HAVE BEEN SENT BACK IN THE PAST FORTNIGHT, INCLUDING ALL RECENT ARRIVALS ALONG AUSTRALIA’S EAST COAST. The Federal Government has issued a media statement IN CHINA announcing the latest group’s return to try TO DETER OTHER PEOPLE considering making the trip. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Sept 2, 1999)
Canadian “Immigration officials estimate their costs so far at about $1.3-million. The Coast Guard and Department of National Defence have yet to tally their expenses. But DND admits that it cost $215,000 to respond to the arrival of the first ship alone. The RCMP is deploying 25 officers day and night to guard the migrants. Plus, the various operations have tied up two helicopters, the RCMP boat and members from other detachments. The province is spending more than half-a-million dollars a month to care for the migrant children.” (BCTV, September 2, 1999) It’s hard to believe the costs are so low, when on August 18: “The bill to Canadian taxpayers to house and process the 254 migrants … is already approaching $1 million, Immigration Canada says. That bill doesn’t include costs to the RCMP, the military, Fisheries Canada and other government departments.” (CBC Newsworld, Wed Aug 18 1999) _____________________________
VICTORIA’S MINI-BOOM – MIGHT AS WELL ENJOY IT – YOU’RE PAYING FOR IT _____________________________
Cars are being rented, hotel rooms booked and the Chinese-food business is full steam ahead. The human-smuggling business has created a mini economic boom in British Columbia’s capital. The three smuggling ships that landed on B.C.’s shores this summer have brought more than 400 Chinese migrants to Canada — and an economic spinoff worth millions that is supporting legal aid lawyers, bus companies, translators, RCMP officers, immigration officials, restaurants, hotels . . . the list goes on … … While some businesses may be rejoicing in the extra economic activity, the Victoria Chamber of Commerce sees almost nothing positive in the recent events because almost all the money being spent belongs to taxpayers. “It has resulted in a mini economic boom to sectors of the economy but it’s not sustainable,” said chamber spokeswoman Barb Carver. “The cost in terms of tax dollars [being spent] versus the benefit that individuals in the community might get doesn’t balance out . . . It’s just building the deficit. It’s not as though a group of veterinarians is coming to town to spend money out of their pockets to stimulate the economy. This is just a circular route.” While it will be months, and maybe years, before the total cost of the migrant effort is tallied, the costs are rising every day. Here’s a partial list so far: <> Immigration Canada, using figures from late August, spent $840,000 providing services to the first boatload and $514,000 on the second boatload. Those costs are rising every day. No information is available on the current — and largest — group but costs are expected to be about $400,000 for the first two weeks. <> A team of about 36 lawyers has been involved in various parts of the six-week operation. Some have been paid directly by the provincial government and others by legal aid. The legal aid bill alone is expected to be about $630,000 for the migrants. <> One hundred and twenty-four migrants — primarily from the second boat — are currently in Vancouver-area detention centres. Each costs taxpayers $200 a day. <> Seventy-five children are in group homes provided by the ministry for children and families, at a cost of $8,200 per child per month.
That includes accommodation, round-the-clock translators, authentic Chinese food and English training. <> The navy estimates its cost to accommodate the migrants from the first ship at $400,000 and expects to incur similar costs for the other two ships. The money has gone toward fencing, medical inspections, modifications to the gymnasium where the migrants are being held, additional commissionaires and military personnel. More than half of the costs will be billed back to Immigration Canada. <> The RCMP could not provide a cost estimate, but it’s considerable,” said Constable Tracey Rook, listing the resources used to date. They include: 25 officers for day shift; 25 officers for night shift; the Inkster police boat and crew; the Emergency Response Team that was the first to board all three vessels; numerous officers from Gold River and Port Hardy; a half-dozen canine units; 20 immigration and passport investigators and two police helicopters. Many officers are being called in on days off, meaning they are being paid at the overtime rate. All costs will be billed to Immigration Canada. Then there are items for which no one could immediately provide cost estimates such as: more than three dozen translators, towing of the three boats to Victoria, busing the migrants to Victoria and a half-dozen trailers that are being used as interview rooms. While there will surely be squabbles over which agencies pay which costs, Immigration Canada spokeswoman Lois Reimer admitted most of the bills will be covered by the federal government. “None of us have these costs forecasted in our budgets,” she said. Some Canadians will be enraged at the costs, but Carlos Gaete of the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre said the appropriate treatment of refugees can’t be counted in dollars. Gaete said the Chinese migrants are entitled to make refugee claims in Canada and should be treated the way Canadians would like to [***BUT WOULDN’T***] be treated if they were in similar circumstances. “This country was built by immigrants,” he said. “Why are we worrying about the costs now?” (Vancouver Sun, Sept 3, 1999) _____________________________
AH, THE PRO-IMMIGRATIONIST’S BEST FRIEND: “IMMIGRANTS BUILT THIS COUNTRY – SO SHUT UP” – BUT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT *ILLEGAL* IMMIGRANTS HERE – AND A MENU OF LUXURIES (CATERED MEALS, LODGING, WELFARE, MEDICAL/DENTAL COVERAGE, LANGUAGE TRAINING, PEER COUNSELLING) THE PEOPLE WHO REALLY BUILT THIS COUNTRY COULD NOT HAVE IMAGINED … OH, DID WE FORGET “FREE” LEGAL AID?
The influx of boat people to British Columbia is putting an incredible strain on the province’s legal aid system. Many of the people who arrived in three ships off Vancouver Island this summer have filed for refugee status. Under B.C. law each one of them is entitled to legal aid to cover their immigration hearings. … Mayland McKimm, B.C. president of the Canadian Law Society says the loss will be made up somewhere else. “OTHER POOR PEOPLE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA WILL HAVE TO GO WITHOUT TO TRY TO MAKE UP THE SHORTFALL,” he says. (CBC Newsworld, Fri Sep 3 1999) _____________________________
SO WHO REALIZES A CLEAR PROFIT? (APART FROM THE IMMIGRATION LAWYER?) _____________________________
Smugglers pocketing $3.5M per boatload ‘Big circle boys’ fingered: Easier immigration policies said to be the lure of Canada (Stewart Bell, National Post, Sept 3, 1999) The snakeheads responsible for smuggling more than 400 illegal Chinese migrants to the British Columbia coast aboard three derelict fishing boats over the past six weeks are pocketing $3.5-million in profits per ship, says a criminal intelligence officer. Sergeant Jim Fisher, Asian crime co-ordinator at the Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada, said the calculation is based on figures provided by the migrants and his estimate that the smugglers’ costs — hiring a crew and supplying a ship — are covered by about half the fees paid by passengers. “If you take the average of $38,000 (US) [per migrant] … that’s $14.8-million (Cdn) in the first two boats. Say it’s a 50% net on that business. What you’ve invested in crew and food and a ship — and you’ve got a $7-million profit for two boats, $3.5-million per boat. “That’s pretty good money.” Although it is not clear who is responsible for the recent smuggling operations, Sgt. Fisher identified the major crime syndicate involved in Asian migrant smuggling as the Dai Huen Jai, or BIG CIRCLE BOYS [see below]. The notorious gang is composed of south Chinese and is heavily involved in Canada’s drug trade. And even though Canada has begun prosecuting some of the crew of the three seized ships, Sgt. Fisher said the smugglers won’t stop their activities. “No, not at all. Why would it deter them?” he said. The crime syndicates that organize migrant smuggling earn profits so large they are not discouraged by the loss of their crews or ships, Sgt. Fisher said. In fact, the ships are often scuttled after their missions are complete. He said the boats being used are drift net fishing vessels picked up for little cost since an area fishery was banned in the mid-1990s. The ships anchor in international waters in the Straits of Taiwan. Smaller boats carry the migrants to the ships from the Chinese coast. Intense competition among smugglers means passengers are subjected to elaborate lies about the ships and their destinations. One of the most notorious tales being told is that Canada is offering amnesty to illegal migrants to celebrate the millennium. “The snakeheads will say anything to get you on board their ship,” he said. Migrants are often told their ships will be luxurious vessels, equipped with movie theatres. “Of course, once you get up close to it what are you going to do? You’re out in the middle of the Straits of Taiwan. You’ve probably made your down payment, and you get on board and find out there’s not only no theatre, there’s no toilets,” Sgt. Fisher said.
The smugglers are bringing their human cargo to Canada because of the country’s easier immigration policies, he said. “When you come to Canada, you know there isn’t going to be somebody turning you around, that you’re going to land and you’re going to be processed.” In contrast, American authorities often board ships in mid-ocean, sometimes turning them back, and detain illegal migrants while their refugee claims are being heard. “That’s a deterrent,” Sgt. Fisher said. Smugglers also know that once their clients have landed in Canada, they will probably be released from custody, enabling them to make their way to the United States, their final destination. “It’s easier to move across the country when you’ve got temporary status because you’ve been given a hearing date in the future, so you don’t have to travel underground.” The federal government has come under fire over its immigration policies since the recent arrival of illegal migrants. Polling indicates Canadians want a tougher system for dealing with smugglers and the immigrants.
Why not do the (new) Canadian thing and punish people for inconveniently noticing that something’s wrong? Detaining the illegals is marginally better than complete and utter liberty, but it’s an expensive band-aid compared to sensible legislation. If these people were LEGITIMATE refugees, they would have headed for Taiwan. _____________________________
WHO ARE THE BIG CIRCLE BOYS AND FUK CHING? In the 1980’s a new gang arrived in several Chinatowns, including Vancouver, Toronto, New York City: the “Big Circle Boys”. In Hong Kong and China, they are called Dai Huen Jai. According to crime writer Dubro, the Big Circle boys came from mainland China, after the Cultural Revolution of the mid- 1960’s. The original members were army members or Red Guards who were purged and sent to detention camps near Canton (now called Guangzhou). Supposedly, the few maps allowed by the repressive Communist government showed these detention camps as a big circle, and Canton is sometimes called “the Big City”. Dubro got some of his information from A.P. “Tony” Lee, a specialist in Chinese triads, and a former superintendent of the Royal Hong Kong Police. Lee also did a study of the Big Circle Boys for the Metropolitan Toronto Police’s Asian Investigative Unit, in 1991. Lee said that the purged Red Guards “were treated like hardened criminals and were constantly abused by the People’s Liberation Army guards.” Other sources note that political prisoners in that period were subjected to “re-education” which amounted to brain-washing or worse. Reportedly between 1969 and 1975 some of these prisoners escaped to Hong Kong, from where they were admitted to Canada and the United States as political refugees, or MORE OFTEN, WERE SMUGGLED IN ILLEGALLY. The Big Circle Boys in Hong Kong initiated a series of violent armed robberies in the mid-1970’s, specializing in robbing couriers and other high cash targets. Lee attributes 80 per cent of all such robberies in the late 1970’s to the Big Circle Boys (BCB). According to Dubro, the Big Circle Boys are not one unified gang.
The label was coined to refer to all gangs of mainland Chinese origin, but there is now a second generation of these gangs, some of whom have never seen China. Dubro estimates there are about one hundred members of the BCBs in Canada, mostly in Vancouver and Toronto. Unlike most Asian youth gangs, the BCBs are older men (perhaps in their 30’s) who may have military training, and speak Cantonese. The BCBs have specialized in transporting illegal aliens, a profession refered to as “Snakeheads”, although the BCBs may call themselves “sewer rats”. According to Dubro, the BCBs also smuggle heroin to the U.S. via Vancouver or Toronto; have been known to traffick in arms; as well as robberies and kidnapping. One famous case of alien smuggling was run by a woman member of a BCB gang, King Fong Yue or Toronto. She was arrested after “Operation Overflight” in 1990. Another women “snakehead” was Cheng Chui-Ping. Dubro gives the details of Operation Overflight, and calls ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION THE “GROWTH INDUSTRY OF THE 90’s”, amounting to millions of dollars. Most of the aliens claimed “refugee status” upon arrival, and then went on welfare. Another source for research is the paper given by Constable Bill Chu of British Columbia’s Co-ordinated Law Enforcement Unit’s Asian gang unit, delivered at the March 1989 Vancouver conference of Asian crime specialists. Chu found links and co- operation between the Big Circle Boys and Vancouver’s Lotus gang. Dubro says that in Toronto, the BCBs have worked together with the Kung Lok triad, and has run some joint crimes with Vietnamese gangs. Dubro also documents a case showing very strong links between the BCBs in Vancouver and Big Circle Boys in Hong Kong. Apparently, the BCBs do not use a triad-like structure.
The group has also split into two levels: the more mature members specializing in heroin trafficking from the “Golden Triangle” (Laos, Burma, Thailand) to North America; while the younger set are involved in more violent local crimes, including “home invasions”, and even raiding gambling houses guarded by other gangs. The Big Circle Boys in both Toronto and Vancouver have developed techniques of extorting money from other wealthy Chinese, including threatening their children. Or they may arrive as an armed group in the home, at night, terrorizing everyone, and taking jewellry and even substantial sums of money that some Chinese keep in their homes, not trusting banks. Beginning in 1989, the RCMP of Canada started some co-ordinated information sharing with the Chinese communist government, on the Big Circle Boys, in an operation called “Red Star”. As more heroin shipments began to move directly through mainland China, INTERPOL and other police agencies also worked with the Chinese government. On November 8, 1990 eight members of the Big Circle Boys were arrested in New York, Hong Kong and Toronto, as a result of Project Dragon and Dragon IV. On February 21, 1991, Ernest Liu, a New York City banker (formerly from Hong Kong) was indicted on 113 counts of money laundering for a “Chinese crime organization”. (charges by Arthur Maloney, US Attorney for Brooklyn). The Asian Investigative Unit in Toronto suspects that the Kung Lok triad are using Big Circle Boys to import heroin into Toronto. In a footnote, Dubro cautions that the Big Circle Boys should not be confused with yet another group from mainland China, the Fukien gangs: “Yet another Chinese crime group looms on the horizon for Canada according to Tony Lee’s recent report . It is the gangs from Fujian or Fukien province that are already established in the States, especially in New York City and Los Angeles. The Fuk Ching (Fujianese youth) gang surfaced in New York City in the late 1980’s. They speak a different dialect than the Hong Kong and BCB gangs. It is the Fujianese dialect, not understood by most Chinese in North America. In addition, there are Mandarin-speaking gangs of Taiwanese and Shanghainese emerging in Los Angeles and Texas. But the Fukien gangs have worked closely in joint alien-and drug-smuggling projects with the Cantonese big Circle boys gangs, both in North America and China.” Abstracted from: “Dragons of Crime, Inside the Asian Underworld”, by James Dubro, Octopus Publishing, Toronto 1992. ISBN 0-409-90538-0 (Committee for a Safe Society) http://www.alternatives.com/Crime/VANBIGC.HTML
N.B. – THOSE WITH ADEQUATE READING SKILLS MAY WISH TO SKIP WHAT FOLLOWS. TO THOSE JOURNALISTS AND MEMBERS OF THE NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY WHO EXPERIENCE A DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY GRASPING EVEN SIMPLE CONCEPTS – THE IDEA HERE IS *NOT* TO “SMEAR” ANYONE’S ETHNICITY OR “CAST ASPERSIONS”, (WE ALL KNOW, WE ALL HAVE CROOKS) BUT RATHER, TO EMPHASIZE THE DANGERS INHERENT IN ALLOWING ANY WELL-ORGANIZED CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE TO ESTABLISH A FOOTHOLD ON “VIRGIN” SOIL. (FEEL FREE TO REREAD FOR FULL COMPREHENSION)
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HONG KONG – As someone in the business of smuggling human beings from China to North America, Tong Ming is astounded that so many of the illegal immigrants reaching Canada have failed to claim refugee asylum. “That’s the job of the snakeheads,” he said, shaking his head with professional concern at the chief smugglers’ inadequate coaching. “They should have told them to.” … He provides [his] with fake passports, sees them on to planes and ensures they claim refugee status at the other end. That allows them to apply for social assistance and health benefits, and entitles them to an immigration hearing and a right of appeal. … The market price to be smuggled into the United States is about $50,000 (US), he says. Only 10% of Mr. Tong’s clients want to go to Canada, so the trip is $5,000 cheaper. … Mr. Tong, 41, has been helping to spirit people into North America for 10 years — in one case, he says, collecting as payment a bag containing HK$1-million (about $130,000 US). He spent several hours describing THE COMPLEX WEB OF UNDERWORLD CONNECTIONS THAT MAKE UP WHAT HE CALLS CHINA’S OPEN SECRET, the movement of prospective migrants from the province of Fujian to the West. ‘You see, everyone is smiling; they know what will happen. If they get deported [from Canada], they will try again. Or maybe they will be allowed to stay. Either way, they haven’t lost any money. IF THEY HAD PAID, THEY WOULDN’T BE SMILING.’ — Smuggler Tong Ming’s take on how these Chinese illegal migrants feel Perhaps the most astonishing aspect of the business described by Mr. Tong is that it is A NO-MONEY-DOWN PROPOSITION. Whether travelling by passenger jet or ageing trawler, the illegal immigrants, Mr. Tong says, never pay a cent until they have safely arrived at their destination. Instead, the risks are taken by each link in a long chain of independent associates who put money up in the hope of a large pay-out when and if the enterprise succeeds. “We call them customers. They will end up paying us the money and we have to respect them,” he says. “If the customer goes to the West and gets deported, then they don’t have to pay, but the snakehead will arrange for another trip until they succeed.” The term “snakehead,” as the top organizers of the smuggling ring are called, has its roots in the similarity between snakes and the shady world of the illegal immigrants.
“The snake lives hidden in the dark just like them,” said Mr. Tong. “And the snake never goes straight to its destination.” The business works like this: The snakeheads work with agents who collect groups of people who want to go abroad, mostly young men searching for a better future. The agents, often important figures in local communities or villages, are known and trusted by the migrants, who would be unlikely to put themselves in the hands of strangers. The snakehead acts as a kind of general contractor and subcontracts various parts of the journey using an elaborate set of connections across several continents. Behind the snakehead is often an investor — not necessarily members of a triad, as the Chinese mafia is generally called — who hopes to reap the large profits that can be gained in this kind of illegal business. If the “customers” are travelling by sea, the snakehead will buy an old ship, often from the Philippines, and hire the crew. These ships lie in wait off the coast of Fujian while smaller boats repeatedly sneak out under cover of darkness, ferrying groups of illegal immigrants from shore until they are all packed aboard. On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, Chinese gangs are hired to collect the people coming ashore and hide them in safe houses. Sometimes, rival gangs will hear about a group of arriving migrants, kidnap them and demand money from their relatives. If the migrants fly, Mr. Tong will arrive in Fujian province, collect them and then ARRANGE FOR TRAVEL VISAS OUT OF CHINA BY BRIBING OFFICIALS. In Hong Kong, Mr. Tong will buy his customers fake passports and make sure they get on the plane. … Before their plane lands in the West, they tear up their passports and pronounce themselves refugee claimants at the immigration counter. Once free of immigration bureaucracy — or safely ashore — they telephone home to tell their relatives to pay the snakehead. Or, in some cases, relatives in Canada or the United States will pay. If the money is not forthcoming within three days of the telephone call, pressure will be put on the relatives at home. At this point, they stop being customers and become the victims of a violent group of enforcers. Each late day, the families are penalized another $100 (all remaining figures in U.S. dollars). In some cases, the immigrants themselves will be given low-paying jobs or forced into some kind of criminal life until the snakeheads are paid off. “If they are women, many jobs can be arranged,” said Mr. Tong.
“A beautiful woman could pay off the debt in six months. If she is not beautiful, she will be working a long time.” Mr. Tong is also in the business of moving prostitutes between mainland China and the Portuguese colony of Macau. His wife finds the girls and he gets them documents. But he said that SNAKEHEADS RARELY SEND PROSTITUTES TO WORK IN NORTH AMERICA. It is both too complicated and too expensive, and the return on investment would be negligible. … Mr. Tong stressed that with no deposit up front, subcontractors such as himself invest their own money, which they risk losing if the enterprise fails. For his part, he has to spend $4,000 to $5,000 (including the plane ticket and fake passport) on each person, but the money disappears if the customers are deported back to China. His profit depends on the numbers he moves each trip and varies between $3,000 and $5,000 a head. The snakeheads using ships packed full of immigrants stand to make enormous gains — or enormous losses. In order to preserve their reputations, snakeheads often pay the $1,000 fine levied by the Chinese government on the deportees and then try and send them back. Several failed attempts can make a snakehead go broke. In China, the punishment for taking part in illegal smuggling of this kind is considerably less than that for drug-trafficking or prostitution, he said, making it an attractive business. Mr. Tong has already spent time in a Chinese jail — not a pleasant experience — and a snakehead friend recently escaped punishment by paying a $50,000 bribe. Although not Fukinese himself, Mr. Tong says 90% of his business comes from Fujian province. Fujian provides the majority of illegal immigrants because the Fukinese abroad are willing to provide jobs and, in some cases, help pay for their relatives to come over. WITHOUT CONNECTIONS OVERSEAS, says Mr. Tong, FEW WOULD RISK GOING. Not surprisingly, Fukinese triads such as the Fuk Ching have enormous influence on the trade, although he says no one group is able to completely control it. After more than 10 years in the business — he refuses to say how many people he has helped smuggle abroad — Mr. Tong has witnessed drastic changes. In 1985-1986, he arranged tour groups of 30 or more to the United States, complete with the flags used by large tours to keep everyone together and matching bags. At the time, the cost was $25,000 to $30,000. “When I got a call saying the word ‘win,’ I knew everybody had gotten through,” he says. “I once got handed a bag with one million [Hong Kong] dollars in it, our profits.”
As immigration rules have tightened in North America, he has been reduced to moving one or two people at a time. But in the last year, he has seen a marked increase in the numbers going to Canada and the United States. Until recently, most of his clients went to Europe, particularly Great Britain. Mr. Tong thinks that it may have something to do with governments in North America threatening to make refugee claims more difficult. “A few years ago, THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT SAID THAT IT WAS GOING TO GET STRICTER, BUT NOTHING HAPPENED. People may be rushing now to get in before they change the rules.” As for the most recent batch of Chinese to land in British Columbia, Mr. Tong thinks he knows how they feel. Picking up a newspaper with a photo of several of them standing on the deck of a Canadian frigate, he said: “YOU SEE, EVERYONE IS SMILING; THEY KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN. IF THEY GET DEPORTED, THEY WILL TRY AGAIN. OR MAYBE THEY WILL BE ALLOWED TO STAY. EITHER WAY, THEY HAVEN’T LOST ANY MONEY. IF THEY HAD PAID, THEY WOULDN’T BE SMILING.” (National Post, Sept 3, 1999)
AND FINALLY, SOME GOOD NEWS
Reform MPs call for debate to change immigration law Saanich-Islands member Gary Lund says Canada can’t be caretaker for world’s poor. VICTORIA — Federal Reform politicians WANT PARLIAMENT RECALLED to send a message to the world that Canada is not a safe haven for illegal migrants. Reform immigration critic Leon Benoit said the three shiploads of illegal Chinese immigrants that have shown up on the West Coast this summer are but a small percentage of the illegal immigration into Canada. But they are highlighting a crisis that is threatening the safety, health and economic stability of Canada and pose a challenge that cannot go unanswered, Benoit said at a press conference held here with three of his Reform colleagues. “The eyes of this country and the world are on Canada right now, knowing and watching for the response from Canada to this illegal immigration,” Benoit said. “We’ve got to recall Parliament to send the signal that Canada will no longer be an easy mark for illegal immigration.” Reform leader Preston Manning said in a phone interview Thursday the government should recall Parliament to change the law that gives immigrants the right to launch appeals that can keep them in the country for years after their refugee claims have been turned down. The Reform leader was referring to a 1985 Supreme Court of Canada ruling that anyone in Canada has the right to the protection of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms even if they have no right to be in the country.
“I don’t think the Parliament ever intended that the charter be available as a defence to people who got into the country illegally,” Manning said. Manning said the ruling could be overcome either through a constitutional amendment or by using the notwithstanding clause to exclude immigration legislation. But Manning said so far the Liberals have shown “no stomach” for that kind of solution. “You’ve got this combination of a leaky refugee immigration processing process and a leaky liberal justice system that in this case just adds up to disaster,” Manning said. Benoit and his colleagues told reporters they have never had so much reaction to any issue, and the lack of action by the federal government is creating a backlash toward migrants. “I believe the government, in the way they are handling this, are creating an intolerance in our society,” said Reed Elley, the Reform MP for Nanaimo Cowichan. The Reform MPs want refugees who arrive in suspicious circumstances to be detained until they are given a hearing, then deported immediately if they are found to be illegitimate. Gary Lund, Reform MP for Saanich-Islands, said he has sympathy for people who are willing to risk their lives to come to Canada, but they cannot be allowed to stay here. “Canada cannot be the caretaker to the world’s poor.” Benoit said ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION WAS FUELLING AN INCREASE IN CRIME, INCREASING THE RISK OF COMMUNICABLE DISEASES, AND POSING A MAJOR RISK TO THE ECONOMY BECAUSE OF THE RISK THAT THE UNITED STATES WILL TIGHTEN UP THE CANADIAN BORDER TO KEEP ILLEGALS OUT. “There’s a real and substantial threat to trade that I think has been ignored for too long,” said Benoit. Carlos Gaete, executive director of the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre, [where the illegals are received] was outraged by the comments of the Reform MPs. “That is very racist,” Gaete said Thursday. “The Reform party is playing on the fears of people. They are trying to win votes.” [***AS OPPOSED TO THE LIBERALS – WHO IMPORT THEM***]. Gaete was particularly disturbed at the allegation that the migrants could be carrying AIDS or other communicable diseases. “Anybody could carry those, even rich tourists who come to Canada.” Benoit also argued that China could be pressured to cut off illegal immigration from its end. “We have some real weapons in that regard.
China wants to be a part of the world trade organization, China wants a lot of support from Canada,” he said. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong Thursday, Liberal MP Raymond Chan, secretary of state for Asia-Pacific, told reporters that human-cargo smugglers are stirring up an anti-immigration backlash in Canada. He also complained that China has not been cooperative in taking back deportees from Canada and that the lack of human rights has created an atmosphere that people want to flee. Chan said Canada’s screening process for refugees gives legitimate claimants a fair hearing, but lawbreakers are taking advantage of it. “It’s sad that it’s being abused,” Chan said. “I’m also angry because they have abused the generosity, the goodwill Canadians have towards genuine refugees.” Himself an immigrant from Hong Kong, Chan said “the Chinese community in Canada is very annoyed, very angry about this process because often it stirs up anti-immigration sentiment.” Over the past two months, three boatloads with a total of 444 people have arrived on Canada’s western shores, most of them from China’s Fujian province. The latest group was intercepted aboard a rusty freighter off Vancouver Island on Tuesday. (Craig McInnes, Legislature Bureau, Vancouver Sun, Sept 3, 1999)
WITH CANADA SUCH A DESIRABLE DOORMAT, WHY NOT ADVISE *ANY* COUNTRY THAT REFUSES TO ACCEPT THEIR RETURNED DEPORTEES and/OR CURTAIL HUMAN SMUGGLING OPERATIONS, THAT THE CANADIAN IMMIGRATION OFFICE IS – SORRY – SHUT FOR TEMPORARY REPAIRS.
HOW HIGH DOES THE CORRUPTION GO? ASK YOUR MP TO INSIST ON ANSWERS! — Your MP’s constituency office is listed in the BLUE pages of the phone book – CALL — To find out who your MP is: http://canada.gc.ca/directories/mp_direct_e.html You can write your MP postage free: c/o House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6 — there’s plenty of time left before Parliament resumes (a real letter carries more weight than an e-mail) — BC residents may wish to ask their MLA what this is costing them? — e-mail Elinor Caplan Caplan.E@parl.gc.ca or write – c/o House of Commons, etc.