Man Pleads Innocent to Smuggling
SEATTLE (AP) _ A Chinese man pleaded innocent to charges of smuggling countrymen into the United States aboard a ship that arrived in Seattle last year with three of the aliens dead in a container.
A second Chinese national and a resident alien from China also were arraigned Tuesday. The dispositions of their cases were not immediately available, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Lord said.
Kam Hung Chan, 39, sat quietly and without expression during his brief appearance in federal court Tuesday to enter the innocent plea.
Eighteen Chinese nationals, including the three dead, were found in a shipping container on the Japanese-owned Cape May when it docked in Seattle on Jan. 10, 2000. A fourth died later in New York.
The deaths were determined to be from dehydration and starvation.
The indictments, filed May 1, were unsealed Tuesday.
Chan, Chao Kang Lin, 29, and Jin Ma, 27, were charged with conspiracy to smuggle illegal aliens and alien smuggling in exchange for payments of up to $38,000 each. Lin is a citizen of China; Ma is a permanent resident alien from New York.
Conspiracy and human smuggling each are punishable by imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.