Police from China and the United States cooperated for the first time to extradite 119 illegal Chinese immigrants by chartered flight on June 28, the Ministry of Public Security disclosed on Friday.
In early April, US officials submitted a 288-person list of illegal immigrants, asking Chinese police to confirm their IDs, just ahead of the visit of Michael Chertoff, the newly appointed secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, the ministry said on its website.
A consensus was then reached on the repatriation of the stowaways during the meeting between the ministry official and the US official, it said.
On June 26, a six-person panel, consisting of a Chinese police liaison officer and diplomats from the Chinese Embassy and General Consulate in Houston, Texas reached El Paso, Texas to check preparation and safety measures as well to minister to the stowaways and confirm their identities.
On the morning of June 28, the chartered plane took off from the United States, bounding for Changle International Airport in east China's Fujian Province, the home of the stowaways, the report said.
China's police departments have enhanced their efforts to crack down on illegal human smuggling in recent years, experts said.
During the first half of this year, for example, the exit-entry administration department seized 3,021 stowaways as well as nabbed 130 people who organized others to enter or leave the borders illegally, the ministry said.
(China Daily July 22, 2006)