French authorities have dismantled a ring of Chinese smugglers who brought compatriots in on tourist visas only to have them work for a pittance in Parisian restaurants, a police official said Friday.
The network worked with a travel agency in China for the issuing of tourist visas, said Xavier Delrieu, who heads the police division that targets illegal workers.
The victims “were then picked up by the network, which housed them and made them work for a pitiful salary, mainly in Chinese restaurants around the Paris region,” he told AFP.
Some 200 illegal immigrants are believed to have arrived in France from China via the network over the past three to four years.
They paid 5,000 euros (almost $6,000) each for a tourist visa, many hoping to obtaining asylum once in France.
The sting resulted in the arrests of six men and a woman in the Paris area on Tuesday, and the seizure of some 20,000 euros in cash and another 300,000 euros in bank accounts.
Eleven illegals, housed in overcrowded apartments, have been tracked down. They will have to either leave France or be placed in detention centres.