Two Chinese Suspected Of Hiring 'Tourists' Arrested At Saipan Airport

Nearly 400 undocumented workers alleged to be working to build casino

By Bryan Manabat

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, April 6, 2017) – Two individuals who were about to leave for China were arrested at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport on Wednesday for knowingly hiring “tourists” to perform construction work at the casino-hotel project site in Garapan.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which filed criminal complaints against them in federal court, Guo Wencai and Qi Xiufang are part of Beilida Overseas (CNMI)’s scheme to employ 398 undocumented construction workers who came to Saipan as tourists.

Beilida and MCC International Saipan Ltd. Co. are construction subcontractors of Imperial Pacific International.

The FBI said as early as Jan. 20, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor on Saipan had begun scrutinizing the labor practices of Beilida Overseas (CNMI).

FBI lead investigator Joe W. McDoulett said a worker who claimed to be an employee of Beilida gave a written statement to U.S. Labor saying that he came to Saipan as a tourist.

The worker said Beilida had two teams of workers. One of the teams was led by Guo Wencai and the other was led by Qi Xiufang.

Another individual, Feng Huqui, who claimed to have worked for Beilida from Aug. 19, 2016 to March 25, 2017, also told U.S. Labor that Beilida’s workers were divided into two groups, one led by Guo and the other by Qi.

Guo led about 180 workers while Qi led 280 workers, Feng said, adding that 80-90 percent of workers under them held tourist visas.

Feng said he provided a bank account number to Guo for payment of wages.

McDoulett said Lu Hui, the registered sole owner of Beilida Overseas (CNMI), told him in an interview that Hu Yuanyou, the worker who died after falling of a scaffold on March 22, 2017, was brought to Saipan by an individual named Xu Heping, the owner of Chengdu Heping Chao Corporation.

Guo is from the Sichuan province in China and an open search revealed that Chengdu, home of Xu Heping’s corporation, is also located in Sichuan.

McDoulett said from the correlation of the numbers provided in Beilida’s personnel chart, the statements of Beilida’s workers, the origin of Guo Wencai and Xu Heping — it appears that Guo is a stand-in representative for Xu Heping.

Last week, the FBI executed a search warrant on the offices of MCC international and Beilida Overseas at the Kase II Building in Garapan and arrested MCC project manager Yuqing Zhao who appeared in federal court on Monday for an initial hearing.

His detention hearing is scheduled for today, Thursday, at 4 p.m.

A separate criminal complaint was filed against Ruan Pei, who said she was an electrician with MCC, but there had been no update about her case as of Wednesday.

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