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Chinese Nationals Released After Illegal Immigration Arrest

February 20, 1992

HONOLULU (AP) _ The immigration service said it was forced to release 35 illegal immigrants from China because it had nowhere to put them, and will trust them to return for an immigration hearing later this year.

The 35 were among 93 Chinese men and teen-age boys who were arrested Monday aboard a Taiwanese fishing boat. Fifty-eight of the detainees were ordered held in detention centers in several mainland states, according to Donald Radcliffe, district director of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Radcliffe said Wednesday that the 35 who were released were chosen by ″luck of the draw,″ and likely have fled Hawaii for New York. He said the INS can only hope they return for a hearing that is expected to be held in March or April.

″I doubt they’re still here,″ he said, although he added that all those released Monday night returned to INS offices Tuesday. There is no federal detention center in Hawaii.

The INS initially reported 96 Chinese nationals were caught, but Radcliffe said that was a miscount; the 93 arrested were charged with illegally attempting to enter and being in the United States.

The U.S. attorney’s office will decide whether to pursue administrative proceedings or criminal charges, he said.

The Taiwanese captain, Lin-Yung Tai, and seven crewmen were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of attempting to smuggle undocumented aliens into the U.S. for profit. They were being held at local jails. The ninth crewman, a juvenile, would be deported, Radcliffe said.

Authorities believe at least some of those arrested had relatives in China who paid for their passage to Hawaii, and other relatives in New York who were to pay more money upon their arrival there.

One man said his father-in-law in China paid about $900 to get him a place on the ship, INS senior agent Craig Barlow said in an affidavit. The detainee did not know how much money was to be paid on New York end, the affidavit said.

Congress is considering a $10.3 million allocation for a permanent federal detention facility in Honolulu, Sen. Daniel Inouye, Democrat from Hawaii, said Wednesday. Detainees now are shuttled between Hawaii and facilities on the West Coast at a projected airfare cost this year of $750,000.

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