Posted on April 10, 2020

China: Fuzhou Offers Up to $71,000 for Clues on Illegal Immigrants Amid Pressure of COVID-19 Imported Cases

Zhang Han, Global Times, April 8, 2020

Fuzhou, capital city of East China’s Fujian Province, has announced it will offer 10,000 to 500,000 yuan ($1,418 to $71,000) in rewards for anyone who reports clues on illegal immigrants as part of measures to prevent COVID-19 infections brought about by people illegally entering the country by sea.

According to a photo of a notice issued by the city’s COVID-19 prevention and control command center, informants can receive 10,000 yuan for each person caught sneaking in, and 300,000 yuan for reporting a group of 10-30 people. Reporting a group bigger than 30 people can bring a 500,000 yuan reward. People can also receive 100,000 yuan for reporting a smuggler or person sheltering illegal immigrants.

A staff member from the command center verified the authenticity of the notice without providing the information on how many people have reported clues to police and customs authorities.

Several cities in the province had previously issued similar notices encouraging residents to provide clues about illegal immigration amid mounting pressure brought by imported COVID-19 infections.

Fujian Province has the second longest and most jagged coastline in the country.

During a video conference Monday, provincial Party Chief Yu Weiguo ordered city and county epidemic control officials to tightly monitor the situation and prevent imported infections from people illegally sneaking in by sea.

“Though there are no illegal immigrants found so far, the risk is high based on the information we have gathered,” Yu stressed.

The province will strengthen sea patrols over ships and border areas that are not covered by customs. Inspections at customs points must be meticulous to guarantee that no ship or person is missed, according to the video conference.

Villages should screen households to prevent illegal immigrants from being sheltered and encourage residents to report illegal behavior.

Under the strengthened measures, police in Zhangping city have cracked down on a group of stowaways and arrested six suspects. Another person involved was given administrative punishment. The city announced on March 31 that it would offer 10,000 yuan to anyone providing clues.

Fujian has reported 55 imported COVID-19 infections as of Wednesday. Two suspected cases and six asymptomatic patients arriving from overseas are under medical observation, according to the provincial health commission.

Land border provinces also face mounting COVID-19 control pressure from illegal immigrants.

A Vietnamese who illegally sneaked in China and later was repatriated to Vietnam escaped from the quarantine center in his country on Saturday, prompting Chinese border county Dulong in Southwest China’s Yunnan Province to strengthen patrols to prevent him from coming back in. An employee from the Dulong government told the Global Times that they had asked villages to keep an eye on illegal immigrants and step up prevention measures.

In mid-March, South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region expelled 13 foreigners who climbed across mountains to get into China.