20 sentenced for illegal border crossing during COVID-19 in SW China‘s Yunnan

Ruili port in Southwest China‘s Yunnan Province links the country with Myanmar. Photo: IC

Twenty people have received prison sentences in Southwest China‘s Yunnan Province for crimes related to illegal immigration from Myanmar to China during the COVID-19 pandemic, Yunnan high people‘s court reported Sunday. 

Courts in Yunnan‘s Dehong Prefecture, which borders Myanmar, have sentenced 20 Chinese to prison terms in six cases of illegal immigration or facilitating foreigners‘ illegal entry into China, and vowed severe punishment for those who commit crimes of illegal immigration during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The 20 criminals from the six cases of illegal immigration committed between March and June were sentenced to between six months and one year in prison, with fines imposed.

On June 9, police seized a car crossing the border in which three Myanmar passengers were unable to provide valid entry documents, and arrested the Chinese driver surnamed Yu. Yu was aware that the foreigners had no entry documents but still transported them across the border, which constituted the crime of engaging in illegal immigration. Yu was sentenced to one year in prison and fined. 

The court held that the 20 defendants disregarded the national laws and regulations on border control, which brought danger to the Chinese people‘s safety and health and went against epidemic prevention and control measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The judge reminded them that epidemic prevention and control is the responsibility of every citizen, and that everyone must be responsible for their own safety, especially during the pandemic.

Earlier in September, illegal border crossings made by six people from Myanmar, two of whom were later confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, triggered a week-long lockdown of the Yunnan border city of Ruili, and prompted at least eight prefectures and 25 counties to enter “wartime status.” Following the incident, Yunnan vowed to strengthen border patrols. 

Global Times


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