Rackets divers

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Mexico says pseudoephedrine case signals breakdown in port security in US, China

The Associated Press 26/07/07

MEXICO CITY: Chinese and U.S. authorities are investigating whether a breakdown in security at their ports allowed an illegal shipment reportedly carrying more than 19 tons of a chemical intended for methamphetamine cartels to reach Mexico, the Mexican attorney general said Thursday.

The shipment led to what has been touted as the world's largest seizure of drug money and the arrest of Chinese-Mexican businessman Zhenli Ye Gon, who is accused in the United States and Mexico of supplying pseudoephedrine to Mexican cartels who then used the drug to make methamphetamines.

China sentences oil thieves to death

China news daily 2007-07-28

China has sentenced to death two leaders of a gang which stole crude oil by drilling into pipelines, causing 400 million yuan ($53 million) in damage, the Xinhua News Agency said on Saturday.

A court in Dongying city, in the eastern province of Shandong, gave a suspended death sentence to another gang member on Friday and sentenced seven others to prison terms ranging from three years to life.

In 2005 the gang slipped into a seabed oil extraction centre at China's Shengli oilfield and drilled into a pipeline, but fled when they found it contained natural gas instead of oil. A month later, they stole 10 tons of crude oil from a nearby pipeline, Xinhua said.

The holes in the pipes were not discovered until months later, by which time the leaks had disrupted local fisheries. On mesure la qualité du contrôle fait par des autorités locales dont, seules, des mauvaises langues disent qu'elles sont parfaitement complices

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China omits brothel claims from hostage reports

Monday, June 25, 2007 AFP

China's state media reported Sunday the release of seven Chinese hostages briefly kidnapped in Pakistan, but failed to mention that they were seized from an alleged brothel.

Law and disorder

South China Morning Post 17/04/2007

Last week's attack by chainsaw gangsters on a nature reserve in Beijing's Huairou District - part of an attempt to extort money from hoteliers and restaurateurs - underscores how Beijing in the run-up to the 2008 Olympic Games has already entered an epoch of social breakdown. Some call it "terrorism with Chinese characteristics". Local law enforcement officials appear hapless to do anything.

Gang extortion is now almost routine practice in China, even in the nation's capital. Despite all of the space cadet panda cartoons praising the 2008 Olympics, families gather outside of schools in crowds to pick up children fearing they may be kidnapped otherwise. Business owners are under regular extortion threat. Police are impotent. Foreign residents living in high-walled compounds or in multinational corporate towers, are usually immune to these realities. But they affect local people daily.

Gangs have power because district governments are either powerless to stop them or are in cahoots with them. The situation resembles Shanghai in the 1930s more than what Beijing should be in 2007. Huairou District epitomises how these gangs can operate outside the law. To survive much less expand, business operators must develop their own protection gangs. The situation makes Hong Kong triad movies look like a Sunday school show.

Fines sought to curb speculation on graves

ZHUANG PINGHUI 2/04/2007 SOuth China Morning Post

Authorities are considering imposing hefty fines on cemetery operators who sell tombs without receiving a death certificate for the deceased, to curb runaway speculation on burial land. Experts and officials from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, who met in Nanjing last week to discuss modifying the Burial Management Regulation, said the new rule would forbid cemetery operators from selling tombs to buyers without first seeing death certificates for the deceased. Violators would face a fine of up to 500,000 yuan, Xinhua reported. [...]
A tomb can cost more than 10,000 yuan per square metre - more expensive than the average price of a house in most mainland cities - and cemetery operators are enjoying "shockingly high" profits, with some seeing a return of as much as 300 per cent, the report said.

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Bogus police station set up by fraudsters to swindle recruits

South China Morning Post ZHUANG PINGHUI 11/01/2007

A fraud syndicate that operated a bogus police station and swindled 30,000 yuan from each new would-be recruit has been smashed in Shaanxi. The syndicate, headed by 59-year-old retiree Liu Jide , rented an office in Xian's Beilin district and decorated it like a real police station. It had a burnished, official-looking nameplate and the national flags of many countries. [...] New recruits were lured with the prospect of potential promotions to senior posts if they paid at least 30,000 yuan. Liu said about 30 people had signed up, with 12 of them having paid that sum.

Des Français victimes du " coup du restaurant chinois "

JEAN-FRANCOIS ARNAUD. Le Figaro 20 décembre 2006

Des PME sont approchées par de mystérieux clients chinois, qui tentent de leur extorquer des sommes d'argent.

Jean-Marie Mechelany, le patron de la marque de skis et raquettes de neige Morpho, basée à Thonon (Haute-Savoie), n'est pas près d'oublier son récent voyage d'affaires en Chine.

Tout a commencé par un courriel arrivé en février 2006 dans sa messagerie électronique : " Nous avons entendu parler de vos produits et projetons de vous passer une commande importante... " L'entrepreneur, certes prudent mais surtout audacieux par nature, imagine dès ce premier contact l'énorme marché chinois et ses millions de skieurs chaussant des spatules à sa marque. Indéniablement, il y a là une chance à saisir. " Tout paraissait cohérent, l'expéditeur était une société située dans une région montagneuse qui s'intéressait à des produits en métal à moins de 200 euros ", raconte le petit patron.

Les négociations se poursuivent par e-mail, jusqu'à ce que la partie chinoise passe une commande ferme. " Ils m'ont demandé de me rendre en Chine pour signer le contrat. " Sur place, Jean-Marie Mechelany est reçu au pied de l'avion par un quarteron de vice-présidents parfaitement crédibles, accompagnés d'une jeune interprète, qu'il doit inviter au restaurant. Après moultes courbettes et échanges de cartes de visite, le repas est chaleureux. On trinque à l'alcool de riz. Mais tout se gâte quand la brochette d'aigrefins se montre très insistante pour obtenir des cadeaux. " On m'a demandé d'offrir immédiatement à chacun une commission de 2 500 dollars. " Affolé, l'entrepreneur refuse d'aller plus loin et prend ses jambes à son coup. Le contrat mirifique n'a jamais existé. Et la mésaventure lui aura coûté le prix d'un aller-retour Paris-Zengzhou et une nuit d'hôtel. " Je m'en sors bien, mais je tiens à faire connaître mon histoire pour que d'autres ne se laissent pas prendre ", souligne Jean-Marie Mechelany. Car si les cas d'arnaques similaires se multiplient depuis quelques mois, souvent les victimes, honteuses, hésitent à se faire connaître après leur piteuse escapade.

" Nous dénombrons trois ou quatre cas similaires chaque semaine ", indique Marion Lespine, de la Mission économique française à Pékin qui, en plus de conseiller les victimes du " coup du restaurant chinois ", est en train d'établir une liste détaillée des sociétés chinoises suspectes, souvent dûment enregistrées et n'ayant pas connu d'incidents de paiement. " Nous avons transmis les dossiers aux autorités chinoises ", explique-t-elle.
[...] Leurs correspondants chinois laissant espérer une commande de plusieurs dizaines de milliers de bouteilles. " Ils jouent à fond sur le registre de l'eldorado chinois qui fait tant rêver les Occidentaux, avec des commandes mirobolantes qui bizarrement n'étonnent personne ", souligne le responsable d'une société française d'intelligence économique. Une des ficelles consiste aussi à établir des relations chaleureuses avec les hommes d'affaires français. [...]

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