A judicial magistrate on Thursday rejected bail pleas filed by 11 Chinese nationals and two locals in a case pertaining to alleged fake marriages, forced prostitution and organ trade of Pakistani girls in China.
Judicial Magistrate Amir Raza rejected the bail pleas after listening to the arguments from both sides.
The defence counsel, Saleem Ahmed Khan, contended that his clients had been arrested in a fake case. "The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested the suspects after fabricating a story," the counsel said, adding that the suspects came to Pakistan for business purpose.
"There is no proof against the suspects on the record of the case," he noted.
The counsel for the FIA, Munem Chaudhry, argued that the suspects deceived Pakistani girls into fake marriages. They sexually exploited the girls after fake marriages, he argued.
He requested the magistrate to reject the bail plea.
Raids and arrests
On May 8, the FIA had arrested 11 Chinese nationals in multiple raids at several locations in and around Lahore on a tip off.
According to an FIA press release, the agency came to know through a victim about 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 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 man then married off his daughter to a Chinese man, Chan Yen Ming.
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 the man 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.
The family then informed the FIA about the incident and 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's residence in Lahore, after which raids were conducted and multiple arrests were made.
China launches probe, holds visas
The Chinese Embassy in Islamabad has launched an investigation into 142 cross-border marriages that took place in 2018, a Chinese envoy said in a recent interview with UrduNews.
Deputy chief of mission at Chinese Embassy Lijian Zhao said that last year about 142 Pakistani women had applied for wedding visas after marrying Chinese nationals. This year, so far 140 Pakistani brides had applied for such visas, he added.
The embassy, the envoy said, had withheld at least 90 visa applications and alerted the Pakistani authorities.
Talking about recent reports of abuse, the diplomat denied claims in media about Pakistani women being subjected to forced prostitution and organ sale in China.
“Lies are being spread on the internet and the media. They are talking about Pakistani girls being sent to China for forced prostitution or sale of organs. That is totally fabricated and for sensational purposes. There is no evidence of that,” he said.
He said that out of 142 marriages, only a few isolated cases of harassment or torture had been reported. All marriages, he claimed, were legal and registered after due process.