Thursday, September 16, 1999

4 indicted in attempt to
smuggle aliens by boat

By Harold Morse


A federal grand jury has indicted four Chinese nationals on charges of attempting to smuggle aliens into the United States aboard a 140-foot boat.

Fei Su Song, 35, captain; Wen Liang Chen, 46, co-pilot of the vessel identified as the Yu Xing No. 2; Qin Chen, 24, an "enforcer" in charge of 120 Chinese nationals who were passengers; and Shi Jie Pan, 26, a man identified as the radio officer, all stand indicted of violating U.S. immigration laws in their attempt to smuggle aliens from China into the United States from July 4 to Aug. 24.

The Yu Xing No. 2 became disabled and was taken in tow by the Coast Guard to Midway Atoll. An investigation turned up details of the smuggling operation.

The indictment charges each defendant with three substantive offenses related to smuggling attempts to bring three of the 120 aliens to the United States for commercial advantage and private financial gain. Qin Chen is accused of assaulting some of them.

The U.S. attorney's office said these are the first such prosecutions in Hawaii of smuggling aliens by sea since 1993. From February 1992 to the end of 1993, 34 defendants were criminally prosecuted and convicted in Hawaii.

Maximum penalties for the offenses charged in yesterday's indictment are up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, with a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of three years for the first two violations.

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