Boat Owners Sentenced to Five-Year Terms in Chinese Smuggling With AM-Chinese Boat People, Bjt
NEW YORK (AP) _ Two men who smuggled 150 illegal Chinese aliens into the United States at a price of up to $30,000 each were sentenced to maximum five-year prison terms.
U.S. District Judge Robert Patterson imposed the sentence Thursday on George Huang and William Chen. They were convicted of conspiracy in March.
The men, who each had previously owned Chinese restaurants in New York, had arranged to bring the aliens to America aboard a fishing boat, the Chin Wing 18, which they bought in Taiwan in 1991.
Huang, 46, and Chen, 43, both naturalized citizens, were arrested after the boat, tilting to one side, was seized by the Coast Guard off North Carolina on Sept. 7.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Gertzman said the smuggled aliens had lived on wooden shelves in the fish hold of the ship during the four-month voyage. Human waste and food scraps were found all over the deck, he said.
Evidence at trial showed that the boat lacked adequate life preservers and life rafts.
Prosecutors also said Huang bought a handgun and electric stun gun for the boat’s captain so he could maintain order during mealtime.
The captain, Ho-Hsin Fan, pleaded guilty before the trial to conspiracy and was sentenced March 29 to 18 months in prison and a $500 fine.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service said Huang and Chen stood to gain as much as $4.5 million from the smuggling once the aliens paid between $20,000 and $30,000 each.