Chinese nationals in court for human trafficking, violation of SA labour laws

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The bail hearing of seven Chinese nationals accused of trafficking illegal immigrants and subjecting them to forced labour continues at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

Kevin Tsao, a naturalised South African, Chen Hui, Qin Li, Jiaqing Zhou, Zhang Zhilian, Ma Biao, and Dai Junying started their bail application on Wednesday.

They are facing charges of human trafficking, debt bondage, kidnapping and pointing of a firearm.

The department of employment and labour said they were arrested on November 12 at the premises of a company called Beautiful City Pty Ltd at Village Deep in Johannesburg, following a tip-off that the Chinese nationals were allegedly involved in the trafficking of illegal immigrants and subjecting them to forced labour.

The court heard that out of the 91 Malawian nationals employed in the factory during a raid, 37 of them were children.

The Malawians were transported to South Africa in containers. They were allegedly threatened with firearms, kept on the premises against their will and paid R6.50 per hour as opposed to the R20 per hour stipulated in the Minimum Wage Act.

In affidavits, the accused requested to be granted bail stating that they were not a flight risk and would abide with their bail conditions. They also complained of being subjected to an unusual diet and appalling prison conditions.

African News Agency (ANA)