A Vietnamese man was arrested Monday for accommodating 27 illegal Chinese entrants in his motel in the northern province of Bac Ninh.
Dinh Phu Thuong, 31, locked the elevator and welded the staircase door to hide the Chinese group on the seventh and eighth floors of the motel in Huong Mac Commune, Tu Son Town, Bac Ninh.
Police of the neighboring province of Bac Giang said Monday they searched Thuong’s home and detained him for investigating the organizing and brokering of illegal entry of foreigners to Vietnam. He faces up to five years in jail if found guilty.
On August 1, Tu Son Town police raided the motel and found the Chinese citizens that Thuong had helped without their having legal entry papers.
Furthermore, investigators said the manager did not comply with national Covid-19 prevention and control protocols in allowing the Chinese nationals to stay in the motel.
Besides locking the elevator so the police could not enter the floors where the Chinese were staying, Thuong told the police at the station that he also wielded the door of the staircase on the 6th floor to prevent outsiders from coming in.
When the motel was raided, he led the Chinese out through the windows on to the neighbor’s roof to help them escape.
They were detained one day after starting to stay at the motel.
The group reportedly told the police they entered Vietnam through “informal routes” in the northern provinces of Lang Son and Lao Cai before arriving in Bac Ninh, planning to find work or start their own businesses.
The Chinese nationals have been sent to a quarantine facility per Covid-19 prevention protocols. Police are planning to fine each Chinese national VND4 million ($173) for illegal entry and to deport them at the end of the 14-day mandatory quarantine period.
In the first six months of the year, Bac Ninh police have discovered 90 illegal Chinese entrants.
Last Thursday, provincial authorities found 20 Chinese illegal entrants in a hotel in Bac Ninh Town.
Since June, public security officers and border guards have found 21 cases involving 177 illegal Chinese entrants nationwide, and launched criminal investigations into five cases.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had ordered the Ministry of Public Security to investigate the illegal entry of foreigners into Vietnam soon after the first case of local transmission of Covid-19 in 100 days was spotted on July 25 in Da Nang, which has since become the country’s Covid-19 epicenter.
Vietnam closed its borders and suspended all international flights on March 25, after halting visa issuance on March 18.
This article was originally published in Vnexpress