U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is conducting a human smuggling investigation after 13 people were killed Tuesday morning as an SUV filled with 25 suspected undocumented immigrants collided with a semi-truck in Southern California, according to an announcement by ICE.
The crash occurred on State Route 115 in the area of El Centro, 10 miles north of the US-Mexico border, at around 6:15am local time, authorities said.
The SUV collided with a big rig and left bodies scattered across a roadway near the U.S. Mexico border on Tuesday, a Border Patrol official told Fox News.
“Special agents from Homeland Security Investigations San Diego responded … and have initiated a human smuggling investigation,” ICE said in a statement.
California Highway Patrol Chief Omar Watson said it was clear that the overpacked vehicle caused “numerous” passengers to be ejected after the collision.
“Obviously that vehicle was not meant for that many people,” Watson said in a press conference. “It’s unfortunate that that number of people were put into that vehicle because there’s not enough safety restraints to safely keep those people within the vehicle.”
California police officers announced 12 people dead at the scene and another person died at a local hospital, authorities said. The remaining eight victims with injuries were transported to local hospitals.
“Some of the walking wounded were able to pull themselves out of the vehicle,” Watson said. “Once personnel arrived on the scene, some were wandering around and some of them had already passed away.”
“It was a pretty chaotic scene,” Watson added.
The passengers in the vehicle ranged in ages from 15 to 53, according to Watson.
Dr. Adolphe Edward, the chief executive of the El Centro hospital, said he believed the passengers were “undocumented migrants,” according to a report by The New York Times.
Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy
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REPORT: China has vast network of covert police stations around the world
China has a vast network of covert police stations abroad, according to a recent report by Safeguard Defenders, an NGO that focuses on human rights violations in China and other Asian countries. These police stations serve consular functions, but are also used by China to crack down on what the CCP deems “illegal” activity of Chinese nationals abroad. The police stations include at least 38 run by the Fuzhou City police, and 22 run by the Qingtian City police. Cities housing these police stations include New York, Toronto (which has three stations), London (two), Paris (three), Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, and Tokyo.
Key findings of the report are below.
“Persuaded to return”
According to China, China has “persuaded to return [to China]” 230,000 Chinese nationals living aboard from April 2021 to July 2022 alone to face charges of fraud and telecommunications fraud. A Yangxia police station set up in Mozambique, for example, persuaded a Chinese national to return to China after being accused of stealing money from his employer. Chinese authorities also put pressure on the accused family to convince the accused to surrender.
Roughly 54,000 Chinese nationals were persuaded to return from northern Myanmar alone, in the first nine months of 2021. In July 2022, the government of Wenchang City warned that its citizens living in northern Myanmar must check in with their local police stations or face multiple penalties including blocking their children from attending urban schools back in China. Similarly, in February 2022, the government of Liayang City stated that Chinese “illegally staying” in northern Myanmar must return or the bank accounts of their immediate family members could be frozen.
The Nine Forbidden Countries
China has claimed that nine countries contain serious levels of fraud and telecom fraud perpetrated by Chinese nationals. Since November 2021, China has declared that Chinese citizens living in these nine countries must return to China immediately unless they have an “emergency reason” or a “strict necessity” to travel or stay in those countries. Those countries are: Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, the UAE, and Turkey. However, the report questions whether these countries are truly awash in such fraud, as most of China’s oversees police stations are in the West, and only one of the nine countries (Cambodia) has such a police station. Chinese staying in the nine forbidden countries, as well as threats to family members as stated above, creates a “guilt-by-association” atmosphere intended to repatriate the Chinese nationals.
According to the report, Chinese police stations abroad serve to bypass “bilateral extradition treaties or other mechanisms of judicial cooperation” to cooperate with CCP-linked NGOs which effectively “[sets] up an alternative policing and judicial system within third countries.” Instead of using international judicial cooperation, which establishes due process, the presumption of innocence, and the right to a fair trial, China uses the above “persuade-to-return” methods and transnational police stations to circumvent international law and coerce Chinese nationals to return to China for trials. These policies show the power of China’s long-arm oppression over its own subjects.
You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic
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