Sunday, August 28, 2016

Spanish police smash Chinese immigration ring, they have arrested 57 people

© AFP
Spanish police said Saturday they had smashed a major ring allegedly providing Chinese nationals living illegally in the country with fake contracts as domestic staff so they could get residency permits.

 The arrests took place in Barcelona, Valencia, San Sebastian and Las Palmas, one of the Canary Islands.

Police arrested 57 people across the country as part of the operation, including a Chinese couple suspected of running the ring, police said in a statement.

The police say the Chinese lived illegally in Spain, working in the textile industry in Barcelona.

Chinese nationals illegally living in Spain reportedly paid the ring €8,000 ($8,960; £6,820) each to obtain fake contracts as domestic workers.

In return they were given residency permits.

The ring allegedly paid employers, usually hotels in Lanzarote, 1,500-2,000 euros for each fake work contract they provided a Chinese national.

A police spokeswoman could not say how many Chinese nationals obtained residency permits through the scheme, saying only that the ring was "very important".

Just under 200,000 Chinese nationals legally live in Spain, making the Chinese immigrant population the fourth largest foreign community in the country, according to national statistics institute INE.

The ringleaders, a Chinese couple, allegedly paid employers between €1,500 and €2,000 for the contracts.

Most of the employers allegedly involved are linked to the hotel trade in Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands.

Chinese immigrants are the fifth biggest foreign community in Spain with almost 170,000 people as of 2015, according to the National Statistics Institute.

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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