It was like a scene straight out of a heist film. In the early hours of yesterday morning 17 Chinese nationals were taken into custody by police officers, after disguising themselves as a single line of tarpaulin while crammed into the back of a van.
At around 4 am, Corporal Uraish Ramsamooj and Police Constables Deon Ramjattan, Avinash Bhajan and Deon Lapix of the Court and Process Department of the San Fernando Police Station, were on their way to the Maximum Security Prison in Golden Grove, Arouca to escort a prison van, when they discovered a suspicious black Nissan Navara at the intersection of the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery.
What appeared to be a tarpaulin covering the square tray of the van, turned out to be people packed into the tray of the vehicle, neatly aligned so that their jerseys gave the appearance of a tarpaulin. The police said that the immigrants gave themselves away when their heads kept bobbing up and distorting the illusion.
The officers intercepted the vehicle and the occupants attempted to flee in different directions, but were rounded up with the help of Highway Patrol Units. 17 Illegal immigrants were captured as well as the driver, who was also a Chinese national in possession of a Trinidad and Tobago driver's permit.
The men are currently being interrogated at the Immigration Office in San Fernando and could face charges of illegal entry and being in this country without lawful permission.
Meanwhile, in a meeting between President Anthony Carmona and a Chinese delegation yesterday, the president was asked by the Chinese to sway other Caribbean nations to reject Taiwan’s separate existence. President Carmona did not agree or disagree, but however, highlighted the recognition by Trinidad and Tobago of the 'One China Policy', which has been endorsed since the administration of Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams.