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Shanghai man gets 14-yr sentence in visa scam case

Shanghai man gets 14-yr sentence in visa scam case

A Shanghai court sentenced a man to 14 years in prison Tuesday after finding him guilty of helping hundreds of Chinese try to travel overseas on false premises.
Authorities described the case as one of the country's biggest human smuggling rings so far.
The Jinshan District People's Court rejected Jiang Yi's defense that he simply helped customers apply for visas without knowing their real motives for traveling overseas.
The judge, whose name was not given, did not explain the reason for 14-year sentence. Jiang was also fined 2 million yuan ($146,000).
Jiang, 30, reacted angrily, jumping up and yelling, "Call the lawyer! Call the lawyer!" to his father, who was in the court room.
Jiang's lawyer, Zhai Jian, did not attend the session. However, he confirmed in a phone interview that Jiang planned to appeal.
"I strongly support his decision to appeal," Zhai said. "Jiang is not guilty of human smuggling. They all had legal passports and visas."
Prosecutors accused Jiang's group of falsifying documents to help clients of his so-called visa service, which was run out of a "virtual office" in Shanghai's luxury Jinmao Tower.
Jiang and about 40 other suspected accomplices helped 166 people get visas and travel overseas using falsified information, the court said. More than 300 other applications failed.
Many of their customers were farmers from nearby provinces who got visas to Europe and the United States by claiming they were business managers going overseas to participate in trade shows and other business events, they said.
But Jiang's father said he believed his son had not committed a serious crime.
"I have no idea what he was doing, but I believe him because he's my son," Jiang Wenwen said. "He was just trying to provide a service."
Jiang and others in the case were arrested in March 2008, court official Xu Youqi said. The group charged customers 30,000 yuan to 80,000 yuan (about $4,400-$12,000) for their services and refunded the money if their clients failed to reach their destinations, he said.


Updated : 2021-06-25 18:16 GMT+08:00