Angola is China’s biggest trading partner in Africa, with its rich sources of minerals and growing opportunities for businesspeople from China to expand projects. That’s part of the reason why there has been a growing underground crime community blossoming in the African nation. Chinese police brought back 37 Chinese citizens from Angola, suspected of committing serious crimes, the Associated Press reports.
The most recent arrests are part of a larger partnership between Chinese police and Angolan officials who started to work together in July on the ground in Angola to uncover Chinese gang activity. Reportedly, these efforts have paid off and around 12 Chinese gangs were busted, and around 14 victims of the gang culture were rescued from forced prostitution and captivity.
The newest arrests and deportation of these 37 suspects was a result of Chinese officials working with Angolan police in order to take the Chinese citizens out of the African nation. Many Chinese officials have become concerned that the newest gang bust could hurt the image of a protective and caring governmental system in China, which consistently stems the tide of violent or gross crimes.
One of the most heinous crimes the suspects have been charged with is luring women from China, telling them they would land well-paid jobs in Africa. These women were then sold into prostitution and kept enslaved for months on end. Other crimes include kidnappings for ransom and killing and burying victims to cover their tracks, the BBC notes.
According to Chinese estimates, some 260,000 Chinese citizens currently live in Angola and conduct business within the African nation. The Chinese government has even built whole city complexes for Chinese and Angolan businesspeople and their families. Unfortunately, those cities are more like ghost towns than bustling centers of commercial activity. Most of the homes remain on the market, the BBC reports.
The high rate of crime, theft and murder caused by gang activities has seriously started to erode business relations within Angola and between the two countries. At least 14 people were kidnapped in 2011 alone. Five of those kidnappings ended in death, causing many people who own businesses to shut down their shops, fearing for their lives.
Angola, which only began to recover from a civil war in 2002, has proven to be an opportune place for growing crime rings to grow. Chinese officials have a continuous uphill battle to ensure that crime is curbed in Angola and to control the immigrant population in the country. The 37 people extradited out of the country on Saturday were escorted onto Chinese soil in Beijing wearing balaclavas to hide their identities. A further 24 people were arrested within Chinese borders in connection with the latest violence on Angolan soil.
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