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Last Updated: Friday, 27 May, 2005, 18:57 GMT 19:57 UK
Raids target Chinese 'slave' gang
Carabinieri officers in Italy
Carabinieri officers raided workshops in Italy
Police have arrested 70 people after raids in three countries targeting a gang accused of smuggling Chinese illegal immigrants into Italy.

Police said more arrests were expected after the morning raids in Italy, Greece and Turkey.

The operation was requested by prosecutors in the central Italian city of Ancona.

A police spokesman said many illegal immigrants were forced into "slavery" in illegal Chinese workshops in Italy.

"Many of the victims which did not manage to pay completely the ransom imposed by the organisation were then locked up in illegal workshops," General Giampaolo Ganzer told Italian radio station Rai 1.

He said workshops had been found in Prato and Florence, among other places.

Dozens of people had been "freed" in the raids and the heads of the workshops arrested, General Ganzer said.


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