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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, July 18, 2024


Forty-five Chinese illegal immigrants face an advice of rights hearing in District Court on St. Thomas Monday after being apprehended over the weekend on St. John.
A resident of Coral Bay notified police at Zone D Command after observing a large number of Orientals in the area shortly after 6 a.m. Saturday. Officials of the Immigration and Naturalization Service took the group into custody and began transporting them in shifts to St. Thomas via ferry.
Left behind on the roadside of Route 10 near the Annaberg hiking train were discarded denim dungarees, a yellow raincoat, two long-sleeve shirts, a black plastic overnight bag and an empty black wallet with a red lining.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Hugh Mabe said the Saturday arrivals may be the largest number of Chinese to land in the territory this year. "I don't remember a larger group," he said.
All 45 were all charged with unlawful entry, Mabe said.
Last month, a group of 39 Chinese nationals was detained on St. Thomas. As the 45 picked up Saturday on St. John were being processed for their court appearance on Monday, another group of 11 immigrants apprehended on Friday was in District Court Saturday in an unusual weekend session.
St. John administrator Julien Harley said he read recently that St. Thomas and St. John are part of a four-island illegal migration route – beginning with St. Vincent and St. Maarten – used by international smugglers for those seeking illegal entry into the United States. "It seems like it all ties in. It's frightening that people could come in that easily," he said.

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