Worker Killed At Saipan Casino Construction Site Entered CNMI As Tourist

FBI raid reveals over 150 undocumented workers at Imperial Pacific Resort project

By Ferdie De La Torre 

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, April 5, 2017) – The Federal Bureau of Investigation has found out that the man who was killed after falling from a scaffold at the construction site of the Imperial Pacific Resort project in Garapan last March 22 was a tourist and therefore unauthorized to work in the Commonwealth.

The FBI also recovered a document during last week’s search on the second floor of the two-story Kase II Building in Garapan that lists over 150 “hei-gong,” the Chinese term for “undocumented workers.”

The FBI’s search was against MCC International and Beilida Overseas (CNMI) Ltd. MCC is a construction contractor for Imperial Pacific’s multi-million-dollar resort and casino project in Garapan. Beilida Overseas is a subcontractor of MCC.

FBI special agent Joe W. McDoulett disclosed the discovery of the immigration status of the person who was killed as well as the list of those allegedly working illegally in separate criminal complaints charging Hui Lu and Hongwei Ma with unlawful employment of aliens and bringing in and harboring certain aliens.

Lu, 32, male, is president and director of Beilida Overseas (CNMI) Limited, which lists its physical address as Suite 200, Flame Tree Office Terrace in As Mahetog.

Ma, 25, female, claimed she is an employee of Marianas Enterprises Limited, but worked in the Beilida office. She told the FBI she was responsible for approving all of Lu’s purchases for Beilida.

As of press time, it’s not clear whether Lu and Ma have been arrested as they have yet to be taken to court for their initial appearance.

[PIR editor's note: On April 5, 2017 Marianas Variety reported that 'Two more individuals were arrested for unlawful employment of aliens and bringing in and harboring certain aliens. ... Separate criminal complaints were filed in federal court against the sole owner of Beilida Overseas (CNMI), Lu Hui, and an employee of Marianas Enterprises Ltd., Ma Hongwei.']

McDoulett filed with the district court late afternoon Monday an affidavit in support of the criminal complaints and arrest warrants against Lu and Ma.

McDoulett is the lead agent investigating MCC International Saipan Ltd. Co. and Beilida Overseas (CNMI) Ltd.

McDoulett said the Department of Public Safety received a report last March 22 from the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. about the death of construction worker Yuanyou Hu.

He said that Hu, 43, entered the U.S. as a visa parolee/tourist last March 7 and that Homeland Security Investigations confirmed that his parole status expired last March 17.

As a visa parolee, Hu was not authorized to work in the U.S. and/or the CNMI.

McDoulett said that Lu met with DPS last March 27 regarding the death of Hu. Lu asked for a copy of the death certificate in order to send it to the spouse of Hu.

Lu later reported to DPS that Hu had entered the CNMI as a glass contractor for a period of two weeks.

Lu met again with DPS last March 28, McDoulett said, and claimed that Hu was employed by a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nanjing Beilida New Materials System Engineering Co. Ltd. (Nanjing Beilida).

McDoulett said Lu claimed that he (Lu) was an employee of Nanjing Beilida, but the sole owner of Beilida Overseas (CNMI).

Lu allegedly stated that Beilida Overseas (CNMI) was incorporated for the sole purpose of allowing Nanjing Beilida to operate and conduct business in the CNMI.

McDoulett said that in their interview with the CNMI Department of Finance’s business licensing director last March 28, the FBI confirmed that Lu, of No. 1 Shuanglong St., Quinhuai District, Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province, China, is the president and director of Beilida Overseas (CNMI) Limited, which was incorporated in the Commonwealth on April 16, 2016.

McDoulett said that during a court-authorized search warrant executed by the FBI at the offices of Beilida last Thursday, the FBI contacted Lu by phone to ask him to unlock the door to the Beilida office.

Lu complied and, after unlocking the door and allowing the agents to enter and search the office, he tried but failed to open a safe under a desk.

Lu then called Ma to tell him how to open the safe over the phone. After still failing to open the safe, Lu asked Ma to come to the office to unlock it.

Upon arrival, Ma opened the safe, which contained several thousands of dollars in U.S. currency, several hundred Chinese yuan, as well as employee pay stubs.

Ma stated that Beilida pays all of its expenses in cash, and that the company did not have a local bank account.

On a chair behind Ma’s desk, McDoulett found several spreadsheets in Chinese titled “Beilida Complete Personnel Accommodation Statistics Chart.” The agent said the spreadsheet features a column called “Visa Type,” which lists over 150 workers as “hei gong,” which means undocumented worker.

McDoulett said a random sample of names designated as “hei gong” was compared with records from Customs and Border Protection and it was confirmed that those individuals were visa parolees, and therefore not authorized to work legally.

In addition, the agent said, the entry dates for the individuals on Beilida’s records matched the entry dates provided by CBP records.

On Saturday, FBI agents arrested MCC project manager Yuqing Zhao, 42, on the same charges. He was taken before U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona on Monday afternoon for his initial appearance. After the hearing, Zhao, who appeared with private counsel Colin Thompson, was remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshal.

A separate criminal complaint was filed last Friday against MCC electrician Pei Ruan, 28, on the same charges. A check yesterday with court dockets showed that the complaint was no longer there. Saipan Tribune learned that as of yesterday at 2pm, she had yet to be arrested.

In his affidavit in support of the criminal complaint against Zhao, FBI special agent Scott Berkland disclosed that during their search of Ruan’s office, they discovered 400 Chinese passports, including 189 passports of Chinese nationals who entered Saipan as visa parolees.

Each of the 189 passports inspected indicated the passport holder had overstayed their parole period.

Saipan Tribune
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