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Trial of Chinese nationals, charged with human trafficking, postponed for the third time as interpreter falls ill

Published Dec 9, 2021

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Cape Town - The trial of seven Chinese nationals, who are accused of human trafficking and child labour, has been postponed to 2022 after the Mandarin interpreter fell ill.

This makes it the third delay in the trial. The second postponement was due to presiding Judge David Mhango’s unavailability due to “other commitments”.

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The Department of Labour said the seven Chinese accused are Kevin Tsao Shu-Uei, Chen Hui, Qin Li, Jiaqing Zhou, Ma Biao, Dai Junying, and Zhang Zhilian.

They are facing schedule six offences which include trafficking in persons, contravention of the Immigration Act, kidnapping, pointing a firearm, debt bondage, benefiting from the services of a victim of trafficking, conduct that facilitates trafficking, illegally assisting person(s) to remain in South Africa, and failure to comply with the duties of an employer.

On November 12, 2019, the seven were arrested for allegedly running an illegal enterprise, Beautiful City Pty Ltd, in Village Deep, Johannesburg.

The accused were arrested during a joint operation by the Department of Employment and Labour’s Inspection and Enforcement Services, the South African Police Service, the Hawks and the Department of Home Affairs.

The Chinese factory allegedly processed the inner cotton of blankets using recycled clothing.

The accused have pleaded not guilty to the charges. They are expected back in court on 28 March 2022.

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