|04TEGUCIGALPA1395||2004-06-21 19:02:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Tegucigalpa|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TEGUCIGALPA 001395
1. SUMMARY: Prosecution of Chinese illegal alien smugglers
arrested in Honduras in late 2003 on charges of people
smuggling, money laundering, possession of instruments for
the forgery of public documents, and forgery of public
documents, has turned into a very difficult task for the
Honduran Public Ministry. The fact that the illegal
activities of these smugglers point to possible trafficking
in people (due to probable forced labor of those smuggled
into the U.S.) has raised serious concerns by post officials
on the performance of the judicial system in Honduras. END
2. CHEN Ke Jung.- Belizean and Taiwanese national, was
released on bail in January 2004 based on medical problems.
CHEN fled to Belize in February 2004. The two young
citizens of the People's Republic of China (PRCs), escorted
by CHEN through Honduran territory with forged Belizean
passports, were sentenced to four years of incarceration.
These PRCs have since exchanged their prison term for a fine
payable to the judicial system. However, they are still
waiting for authentic PRC passports to be deported.
3. LIN Wei Chung.- Taiwanese national, released on bail in
late March 2004. The three PRCs that he was escorting were
released with him. The group fled in mid April 2004.
Taiwanese authorities in Honduras issued an alert to all
Central American countries to prevent LIN from obtaining a
passport. Taiwan consular officials report that LIN applied
for and was denied a passport in Guatemala in May 2004.
4. HE Jia Bin.- naturalized Honduran citizen, remains in
custody although close to being released. Defense attorneys
pointed to mistakes by Prosecution as the basis for his
release. The case is currently under the analysis of the
Supreme Court. A sentence in this case is essential for the
Ministry of the Interior to revoke HE's Honduran citizenship
and order his expulsion from the country. The DCM and other
Embassy officials have repeatedly raised this case with the
Public Ministry and the Supreme Court to ensure that HE is
not prematurely released.
5. HU Weng Rong.- naturalized Honduran citizen, remains in
custody. HU requested his release on bail; however, the
court of appeals in San Pedro Sula denied his request. HU
appears to be the only Chinese smuggler who will undergo
full trial, and the reason appears to be his arrest in San
Pedro Sula. The Ministry of the Interior intends to revoke
HU's naturalization as well.
6. Noteworthy is the fact that one judge, German Vicente
Garcia, has been assigned all Chinese cases in Tegucigalpa.
Judge Garcia has approved all requests for release on bail
regardless of the flight risk that these smugglers posed.
The Public Ministry has appealed all decisions, however, the
Court of Appeals in Tegucigalpa has turned down all appeals
by the Prosecution. Another important fact is that the
defense attorney of the three smugglers mentioned in
paragraphs 2-4 above is German Salomon Amador-Berrios.
Amador-Berrios was the former Chief of Investigations at GOH
Migration in the late 1990s. Amador-Berrios and other
colleagues at GOH Migration were fired due to their
participation in the issuance of legal Honduran visas to
countless ineligible PRCs.
7. COMMENT: Post has elevated inquiries regarding these
cases to the President of the Supreme Court and the Attorney
General. The regional U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement Attache in Tegucigalpa plans to meet with these
officials in an effort to increase awareness of trafficking
in persons and alien smuggling. The judge's decisions on
these cases are highly questionable. END COMMENT.