26 held in Airin immigration sweep

OSAKA — Immigration authorities and police here arrested four foreigners and detained 22 others Mar. 17 for allegedly entering Japan illegally or overstaying their entry visas.

Among those detained were 14 Chinese, 11 South Koreans and a Briton from Hong Kong, all of whom were staying in the Airin day-laborer district in Osaka’s Nishinari Ward. Of them, 17 had overstayed their tourist visas and eight had illegally entered the country with forged passports, the authorities said.

One of them, a 30-year-old Chinese, entered the Kanto region aboard a freighter bound from Shanghai. According to authorities, he paid the Snakehead smuggling syndicate in China 2.2 million yen for the passage. He came to Airin, where his brother, also an illegal immigrant, had been staying, they said.

Another Chinese confessed that he entered through Narita airport with a forged passport he had bought for 2.8 million yen from the Snakehead group, but remained silent on the syndicate’s organizational details, the authorities said.