Before daybreak Friday, police intercepted a Shekou-bound fishing boat off Lau Fau Shan in northwest Hong Kong, near Mai Po nature reserve. Inside the boat police found a woman hidden in a secret compartment under a toilet on board the 13-meter-long boat.

Wong Chun-Yip of the Hong Kong Marine Police said intelligence indicated the gang used fishing boats to smuggle illegal Chinese immigrants between Shekou and Hong Kong; a roughly half hour journey. 38 people have been arrested so far. Wong believed the syndicate had been working for one month and that it had been smashed.

Police said the boat’s secret compartment, measuring 4m by 1m by 1.5m, is believed to have stored up to five illegal immigrants at a time with each one charged between HK$7,000 and HK$12,000 for the journey.

Wong says the joint operation was continuing and it was possible further arrests would be made.

For the complete story read the SCMP's "Illegal immigrant racket relying on fishing boats smashed as 38 arrested in Hong Kong and China" (VPN needed)

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