Beijing Overhauls Intermediaries for Overseas Travels

Beijing has shut down 11 overseas travel agencies and arrested four people for organizing illegal emigration activities, a public security spokesman said Thursday.

The spokesman of the Municipal Public Security Bureau said that the city authorities had examined more than 300 intermediate agencies who help people obtain entrance and exit permits of the country in a recent search.

In the inspection, police discovered 65 agencies who engaged in misconduct in their operations. As a result, one agency was banned, five were forced to halt operations for correction and 11 others were shut down. The remaining organs are under investigation.

The police have also punished more than 20 people who provided services without gaining approval from authorities. Police are investigating six cases involving the smuggling of people out of China.

The Beijing office of an overseas investment consulting company was caught illegally providing emigration and overseas study consultations to Chinese people. The office charged US$3,000-8,000 per person if the application of emigration or study was approved by a foreign country.

In 2000, more than 210,000 people in Beijing applied for permits to travel abroad.

(Xinhua 01/18/200)