Chinese trial of human trafficking and child labour postponed after Mandarin interpreter fails to turn out due to logistical mishap
The matter of seven Chinese nationals appearing in the Johannesburg High Court for alleged human trafficking and child labour was today postponed after the Mandarin interpreter failed to show up due to logistical mishap.
The seven Chinese accused in the matter are: Kevin Tsao Shu-Uei, Chen Hui, Qin Li, Jiaqing Zhou, Ma Biao, Dai Junying, and Zhang Zhilian. The accused are facing schedule six offenses. They are accused of human trafficking, contravention of Immigration Act, kidnapping, pointing a firearm, debt bondage, benefitting 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 duties of an employer.
Five of the accused are out on bail. The other two accused Chen Hui (number 2) and Zhang Zhilian (number 7) are now in custody for violating their bail conditions. The two tried on separate occasions to flee the country and were nabbed.
Last October (2021) the accused, in a written statement read by their attorney Jannie Kruger made an admission of guilt for violation of several of South Africa’s labour laws. However, the other charges still stand and they will continue to face trial on those.
The accused were arrested in 2019 for allegedly running an illegal enterprise called Beautiful City Pty Ltd located at Village Deep in Johannesburg in a joint operation by the Department of Employment and Labour’s Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES) branch together with the South African Police Service (SAPS) Hawk Unit and the Department of Home Affairs.
The Chinese factory is alleged to have been employing 91 Malawian nationals, 37 of them were children. The Court has since heard that most of the Malawians working in the factory were transported to South Africa through containers.
The Malawian workers employed at the factory testified that the company’s operations were carried out behind closed high steel gates with access strictly controlled. Workers were also allegedly subjected to beatings, insults and exposed to hazardous working conditions in violation of occupational health and safety Act.
The matter will now be heard on 13 December 2022.
Source: Government of South Africa