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China

Hong Kong Cracks Down On Traffickers Of Pregnant Women

Tensions are growing in Hong Kong as more and more wealthy Chinese cross over from the mainland to shop, spend – and give birth. Now the first arrest has been reported of someone accused of helping a woman from China to arrive in Hong Kong just in time to

Hong Kong Cracks Down On Traffickers Of Pregnant Women

*NEWSBITES

HONG KONG - Call it Hong Kong's first reported case of "rich, pregnant and Chinese" trafficking. As more and more wealthy families from the mainland angle to have their children born in Hong Kong, a court in the former British colony has convicted a woman on charges of serving as an intermediary in helping a Chinese woman give birth in Hong Kong, the Shenzhen Special Zone Daily reports.

The cross-border traffic has been booming recently for Chinese women to have their delivery in Hong Kong so their child can obtain residency there. But following a recent outcry from locals, the Hong Kong Immigration Department has begun to crack down.

The alleged trafficker, Xu Li of mainland China, was detained this week after crossing into Hong Kong with Li Xiaohuei, a Chinese woman due to give birth. Right after arriving on Hong Kong territory, Li Xiaohuei immediately asked the immigration officer to call an ambulance for her.

As Xu Li was suspected of acting as an agent for arranging Li's "walk-in" delivery on the island, the Immigration Department detained her and sent her to a local court right away.

According to the accusation, Xu Li has acted as an intermediary since 2010. Her services include accompanying pregnant women to Hong Kong for prenatal examinations, appointments with hospitals, hotel reservations, as well as postnatal care.

The magistrate reprimanded the defendant for acts that endanger the lives of pregnant women and newborn infants, as well as affecting the allocated medical resources in Hong Kong. He noted the public outrage provoked by mainland women besieging the emergency services of Hong Kong hospitals, and disrupting the maternity services available to local women.

The judge added that without the illicit work of the intermediaries, many mainland women wouldn't opt for this "walk-in" delivery method in Hong Kong. Thus the court sentence has to be a deterrent to curb such behavior.

Xu Li was convicted on two charges: for violating her condition of stay - not to conduct any commercial activity within the seven-day entry period; and for her false declaration by denying knowledge of her client.

Tension has been running high between Hong Kong and China, as locals on the former British colony increasingly resent newly wealthy Chinese mainlanders crowding their shops, streets – and hospitals. It has degenerated to public name-calling, as a Chinese professor called the Hongkongese "poodles," while those on the island refer to those coming down from mainland China as "locusts."

Read the full story in Chinese

Photo - hellobo

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Close up photograph of a opy of The Independent features Rupert Murdoch striking a pensive countenance as his 'News of the World' tabloid newspaper announced its last edition will run

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Mark Makela/ZUMA
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