Trafficking ring: 11 Chinese suspects remanded into FIA custody

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Four taken into custody in Mandi Bahauddin; raids underway to recover four women "married off" to Chinese men. — Dawn.com/File
Four taken into custody in Mandi Bahauddin; raids underway to recover four women "married off" to Chinese men. — Dawn.com/File

A Lahore court on Thursday remanded 11 Chinese nationals and two locals into the Federal Investigation Agency's custody for a probe into a transnational gang allegedly involved in prostitution and the illegal organ trade.

Judicial Magistrate Amir Raza directed FIA officials to complete their investigation within two days and produce the suspects in court on May 11.

An FIA press release issued today detailed how the agency came to know about the the suspected ring, which involves large sums of money changing hands for the contracting of fake marriages between vulnerable Pakistani women and Chinese men. The women are allegedly trafficked into prostitution in China.

According to the FIA, a woman from Lahore was married off to a Chinese national after her father was approached by an 'agent' claiming to run a marriage bureau.

The 'agent' told the father that he was in contact with some foreign individuals who had recently converted to Islam and were looking for Pakistani girls to marry.

The 'agent' said that the Chinese man would reside permanently in Pakistan, but spend a few months a year abroad with his wife, who would be helped find employment as domestic help to earn some money.

The man then married off his daughter to a Chinese man, Chan Yen Ming, who had introduced himself to the Pakistani family as Musa. He told his father-in-law that he was a converted Muslim.

Three to four days after marrying the woman, Ming took her to China, the FIA statement said. Some time later, the woman called her family to tell them that they had been conned.

She said that Musa had only posed as a Muslim and had not actually converted to Islam. She also told her family that Ming was trying to force her into prostitution and had physically abused her upon her refusal.

She also said that some people in China were running a business of luring Pakistani women into China to force them into prostitution, and that the suspects were also running an organ trade racket, the FIA press release stated.

Hearing this, the woman's father contacted the agent who had set up the marriage and was told to contact their boss Wei Lin Ping, alias David, in Islamabad.

Upon approaching the boss, Ping said that he had paid Rs2 million to the agent for the woman, and unless the father could return the money she would either have to engage in prostitution or sell her organs.

When the FIA was informed about the incident, a request was sent to the Pakistan High Commission in China, and the woman was repatriated to Pakistan.

Back home, the woman informed the FIA of the ringleader Ping's residence in Lahore. Using her tip off, the FIA conducted a raid and arrested at least eight Chinese individuals and two Pakistanis, and recovered the eight Chinese and three Pakistani passports, the press release said.

The FIA later arrested three more Chinese nationals who, according to the agency, were connecting potential grooms with local agents, who were responsible for engaging possible victims. The three were arrested in different raids from the surrounding areas of Lahore.

Separately, Mandi Bahauddin police on Wednesday took four individuals, including a Chinese national, into custody in a similar case. The police arrested the Chinese national, a local woman who was married off to the suspect, and two Pakistani suspects before handing them over to the FIA.

At least five such cases have been reported in the district during the last few months. The agency has been conducting raids to recover the remaining four women who were allegedly married off to Chinese men.

Additional reporting by Zaheer Sial.