German police search houses and companies connected to a people smuggling network in China

Throughout western and southern Germany, more than a thousand police officers conducted a thorough raid on an international human smuggling network early on Wednesday, searching several residences, shops, and legal offices. German news agency DPA said that ten individuals had been taken into custody.

The suspects are charged with obtaining residence cards for around 350 individuals, the majority of whom are Chinese citizens, by abusing special German immigration regulations for talented foreign workers in return for hundreds of thousands of euros (dollars).

North Rhine-Westphalia, Schleswig-Holstein, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bavaria, Hamburg, and Berlin were among the states where raids were conducted. The police gathered evidence and confiscated property. The daily Bild newspaper claims that numerous immigration office workers were bought off in the scheme.

The 10 individuals were taken into custody in North Rhine-Westphalia, which was the center of the investigation. Two attorneys were among them, according to dpa.

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