Fiji Transnational Crime Unit To Monitor Chinese Immigrants

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Police concerned over increase in organized crime

By Nanise Loanakadavu

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 5, 2013) – The Fiji Transnational Crime Unit will start monitoring the movement of Chinese immigrants in the country, its leader, Savenaca Tuivaga said yesterday.

This comes after the unit, consisting of officers from the Fiji Police Force, Department of Immigration and Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority, noted an increase in sophisticated crimes in Fiji by this minority.

Mr Tuivaga said that since the establishment of their task force, they have realised that when there were Chinese immigrants around, people would expect prostitution and the smuggling of people and money laundering.

"There are a lot of Chinese in town and with this MOU with the three relevant authorities, we will be able to monitor their movements," he said.

Mr Tuivaga said they would only act upon reports and indicators if they knew these illegal activities were happening.

Mr Tuivaga said in the last 10 to 15 years, there were not many of these crimes committed in Fiji.

[PIR editor’s note: Fiji Transnational Crime Unit leader Savenaca Tuivaga said that "Fiji recorded the highest in terms of human trafficking, drug smuggling and illegal smuggling of goods in the region."]

He said they had done similar operations with Immigration before.

However, he said, they would also take into consideration government's reform policy on economic reform.

"We can't stop people from coming into the country, but once we identify people who are causing these problems, we will profile them and if they are a threat, we will ship them out."

He said they had also noticed the increasing number of Chinese immigrants buying properties.

He said they would try and ascertain their source of funds because buying of real estate by such immigrants was a major concern.

He said they also had officers who would focus on financial investigations.

Chinese Association of Fiji president, Jenny Seeto, last night said they would respect government's decision to investigate because people should comply with the law.

However, she said, to point out one particular ethnic group was incorrect.

"It's not just one ethnic group. Recent cases in Fiji have shown that other ethnic groups are involved. I don't have any evidence of the cases brought to the unit, but if they have the evidence, then they should investigate," she said.

Mrs Seeto said the Chinese in Fiji had been here for a long time, they were hard working and law abiding.

She said they had good investors and visitors and they support that everyone should be law abiding citizens.

"I applaud the government in taking this step to encourage a safe and prosperous Fiji, and for us, whatever the law is, it must be followed," she said.

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