Chinese human trafficking accused owe us millions - labour department

2020-01-31 13:39
Chinese nationals arrested for alleged human trafficking and violation of labour laws. (Photo: Department of Employment and Labour)

Chinese nationals arrested for alleged human trafficking and violation of labour laws. (Photo: Department of Employment and Labour)

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Seven Chinese citizens accused of human trafficking and kidnapping allegedly owe the Department of Employment and Labour more than R7m, and the department wants them to face additional charges.

The seven people – Kevin Tsao, Chen Hui, Qin Li, Jiaqing Zhou, Ma Biao, Dai Junying and Zhang Zhilian – appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Wednesday for a bail hearing.

There, the department's chief inspector in Gauteng, Michael Msiza, testified that the department had requested that the seven people be charged with additional offences for the alleged contravention of labour laws.

READ | Bail hearing of Chinese nationals, who allegedly trafficked 91 Malawians into SA, adjourned

According to the department, Msiza told the court that the legislation they allegedly contravened included the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Unemployment Insurance Act, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the National Minimum Wage Act.

Penalties for these include a fine or imprisonment, or both simultaneously, Msiza added.

The matter was postponed to February 12 for the continuation of the bail application.

The accused were arrested in November last year, after authorities received a tip-off.

The crimes were allegedly committed at the Beautiful City factory in Village Deep, Johannesburg.

It's alleged that they transported Malawian nationals to South Africa in containers. Officials say an intermediary known as "The transporter" is still on the run.

During a raid, 91 Malawians were rescued from the factory. At least 37 were children.

The department is also considering attaching the factory to recover the amount they owe.

 - Compiled by Sheldon Morais

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  trafficking  |  crime
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