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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (September 29, 2000 – Marshall Islands Journal)---The government moved last week to deport a Chinese national who had overstayed his visa by more than one year.

Acting Foreign Minister Witten Philippo issued a notice of intent to deport to Tang Yong Jian whose visa, according to a stamp in his passport attached to the court documents, expired September 13, 1999. Tang holds a passport from the People’s Republic of China.

In an affidavit, immigration officer Carter Lokejak said that Tang had said he planned to leave the RMI on September 21, but then changed his departure date to September 27. At that point, the Minister decided to move forward with deportation proceedings. Lokejak indicated.

In response to the civil suit, Judge H. Dee Johnson issued an arrest warrant on Friday, which was later modified by the judge. His later order instructed the chief of police to release Tang into the custody of Senator Kaiboke J. Kabua and instruct the defendant to appear in court on October 2 unless he has already left the Marshall Islands.



MAJURO, Marshall Islands (September 22, 2000)---Three Chinese were charged Tuesday in the High Court with using illegal American passports to enter the RMI.

Suspecting that something was wrong with the U.S. passports used by a group of four Chinese who arrived here from Tarawa, Kiribati last Thursday, RMI Immigration Chief, Isaac Lanwi, asked the U.S. Embassy to check the validity of the passports.

Late on Monday, a report was received from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service confirming Lanwi’s suspicion: the passports were forged.

By the time local law enforcement personnel produced arrest warrants and got Judge H. Dee Johnson’s signature authorizing the action, one of the four had already boarded Continental’s flight for Honolulu. But he was arrested in Honolulu by INS because of the tip-off by RMI Immigration.

The other three were arraigned Tuesday on the charge of using forged passports, pleaded not guilty, and are being held at Majuro jail on $1,000 bond pending a preliminary hearing next week Thursday.

"Isaac Lanwi is the hero in this story," said RMI prosecutor John Young. The Chinese took a very roundabout route to the Marshalls, traveling via Japan, Fiji and Kiribati. "Nobody in these other locations picked it up," Young said.

Young suspects that this group of Chinese – who are nationals of the People’s Republic of China – may be the first attempt to sneak Chinese into the U.S. using Majuro as a jumping-off point. Whoever is behind the operation may believe that a jurisdiction such as the RMI won’t have the sophistication to detect forged passports, Young indicated.

But Lanwi "is making a difference" at Immigration. He’s doing good work. Young said.

"If this is the opening gambit for using Majuro as a transshipment point (for illegal Chinese) to the U.S., we are going to do our best to make their life very unpleasant."

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail:  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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