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Illegal Immigrants Found in Calif.

October 7, 1999

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) _ Immigration authorities have found 53 Chinese men and boys hidden in the empty cargo holds and ballast tanks of a Singapore-registered freighter.

All were in good health, Coast Guard Lt. Jeanne Reincke said. Reincke said it wasn’t known how long they had been there; they were found late Tuesday and early Wednesday after authorities received a tip.

All were detained by Immigration and Naturalization Services and likely will be deported unless they state a fear of political persecution, which could lead to a hearing before an immigration judge.

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Charles Cashin said he did not know when or where the Chinese nationals were picked up or what cargo the ship was carrying.

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