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Wednesday, 13 June, 2001, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
HK to hand over 'human trafficker'
Chinese aliens detained
Frequent efforts are made to smuggle people into the US
Hong Kong is to extradite to the United States a woman accused of being behind one of the most notorious illegal immigration scams in recent years.

Cheng Chui-ping, also known as "Big Sister Ping", has been wanted in the US since the freighter Golden Venture ran aground off New York in 1993.

The ship was found to be carrying 300 illegal Chinese migrants, 10 of whom drowned trying to swim ashore.

Hong Kong
Hong Kong will send Cheng back
The US issued an arrest warrant for Ms Cheng the following year, alleging that she masterminded the Golden Venture operation.

Ms Cheng remained at large until Hong Kong police arrested her last year.

She also stands accused of other crimes in the United States, including taking Chinese illegal immigrants hostage until ransoms were paid.

Court appeal turned down

Hong Kong's Justice Department said chief executive Tung Chee-hwa had signed the extradition order after Ms Cheng lost a court appeal to remain in the territory.

It is unclear when she will be sent back to the US.

Another man involved in the Golden Venture case, Guo Liangchi, was handed over to the US by Hong Kong in 1993.

He was later sentenced to 20 years jail and fined $200,000 for his role in the disaster.

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See also:

11 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
Chinese stowaways caught in HK
27 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
China arrest in Dover deaths inquiry
12 Aug 99 | Americas
The deadly trade of human smuggling
20 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Chinese gangs' cruel trade
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