China to store all foreigners’ fingerprints upon entry – with new rule starting in Shenzhen

Regulation, to be gradually rolled out at entry points nationwide, will affect all foreigners aged 14 to 70

  All foreigners aged between 14 and 70 will be asked to leave their fingerprints at entry points to the country and the information will then stored for official use.  File photo: Edit international

All foreigners aged between 14 and 70 will be asked to leave their fingerprints at entry points to the country and the information will then stored for official use. File photo: Edit international

The move, aimed at improving border checks, would see China collecting the fingerprints of all foreigners aged between 14 and 70 entering the country, the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement on its website on Thursday.

The new regulation will start on Friday at Shenzhen Baoan International Airport, among other locations, before being gradually rolled out at all checkpoints across the country.

The information would then be stored for official use, the statement said. It did not elaborate on whether the information would shared across ministries and other government agencies. Foreigners using diplomatic passports and visas will not have to provide their fingerprints.

Chinese citizens from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan were not considered foreigners, a Shenzhen border authority official said. Unlike foreigners who use their passports to enter mainland China, Chinese citizens from those regions do so using home return permits issued by Beijing. Their fingerprints are already required upon entering the mainland using their home return permits through e-channels.

“Storing biological identification information of people entering and leaving borders is an important border control measure, and many countries have started to implement the regulation,” the public security ministry’s statement said.

The border control authority would work on improving efficiency after the new rule took effect, it added. Other countries that already collect biometric data from visiting foreigners include the United States, Britain, France, Japan and Australia.

Fingerprinting foreigners at the border is often adopted as a measure to counter terrorism.

In the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks in 2001, the US in 2004 started collecting electronic fingerprints from foreign nationals. The following year, foreigners were required to submit all 10 fingerprints instead of just two when they apply for US visas at its consulates.

The US collects the information only from those aged between 14 and 79, and exempts those using diplomatic and official visas or undergoing medical emergencies. Japan began fingerprinting and photographing foreigners entering the country in 2007 as an anti-terrorism measure.

Cassandra Sainsbury's plane ticket bought in Hong Kong led to US tip-off: reports

The US Drug Enforcement Agency tipped off Colombian authorities to their suspicions about an Australian woman potentially smuggling drugs out of the country before Cassandra Sainsbury was arrested at Bogota international airport, according to reports.

  Colombian police released this photo of Cassandra Sainsbury with the alleged drugs .  Photo: AP

Colombian police released this photo of Cassandra Sainsbury with the alleged drugs. Photo: AP

The last-minute purchase of a plane ticket in Hong Kong for the Adelaide woman to travel to Colombia via London was a red flag that raised the suspicions of US drug authorities, who alerted their Colombian counterparts, The Australian reported.

The plane ticket was bought by an unknown party for Ms Sainsbury, a former personal trainer, to travel to the South American country alone, and for a relatively short period.

Ms Sainsbury, 22, arrived in Colombia on April 3, and Channel Seven reported that US authorities might have forwarded her passport details to Colombian police as early as April 5, warning she might try to smuggle drugs. Police arrested her inside El Dorado International Airport, in Colombia's capital Bogota, on April 11 as she prepared to board a flight to London.

Reports suggest Ms Sainsbury had checked in her suitcase and was about to clear the final immigration check when she was stopped.Colombian police allege that, when they searched her suitcase, they found 5.8 kilograms of cocaine concealed in 18 headphone boxes.

Colonel Rodrigo Soler, the airport's head of narcotics, told The Australian that Ms Sainsbury's travel profile fitted a well-established pattern of drug mules, which raised the suspicions of US authorities. Ms Sainsbury's family claims she had bought the headphones as gifts for friends and members of her bridal party, ahead of her wedding to her fiance, Scott Broadbridge, in February next year.

Her sister, Khala, said that, in the days before her flight home, her sister "was with somebody she had met that could speak English and she was sightseeing". "He was showing her around," Khala said of the local man.

When Ms Sainsbury saw some headphones she was going to buy for gifts, the man told her he knew someone who could get them more cheaply, Khala claimed. "She did that and got them handed to her [on the] Wednesday morning before she left. She just put them straight into her suitcase," Khala said.

Her family claims she had no idea the drugs were concealed in the headphones, and say she is now facing up to 25 years in jail for a crime "she did not commit".

On Tuesday, Lieutenant Colonel Jorge Triana told Colombia's W Radio station that Ms Sainsbury's claim that she was deceived was probably untrue, and in any case it did not excuse her actions. "Everyone who is caught says exactly the same thing," he said. He claimed many foreigners were lured by promises of fast fortunes. "But they know what they're doing," he said.

Meantime, a fundraising page Ms Sainsbury's family set up to help pay for her legal costs has been shut down after raising just over a quarter of its target. Khala had set up the FundRazr page with the aim of raising $15,000, but the page was soon flooded with negative comments by people who doubted her story and questioned why they should contribute.

The account has since been closed after receiving just $4232 in donations from 105 people - well short of the $15,000 the family hoped to collect to help cover legal bills. After initially speaking out about Ms Sainsbury's case, her family are now keeping quiet on legal advice.

Ms Sainsbury and Mr Broadbridge's Facebook pages have also been closed.

Jay Williams, a Sydney barrister who is providing legal advice to Ms Sainsbury's family, declined to comment when contacted by Fairfax Media.

Mafia fugitive arrested at Brazil airport said to be key crime figure linking Canada and Italy’s mobsters

A Mafia fugitive from Italy — named as the axis of a powerful mob clan in Canada, Italy and the Netherlands — was arrested Friday as he tried to board an airplane in Brazil.

A Mafia fugitive from Italy — named as the axis of a powerful mob clan in Canada, Italy and the Netherlands — was arrested Friday as he tried to board an airplane in Brazil.

Vincenzo Macri, 53, is wanted in Italy for drug trafficking and other charges after he escaped arrest in 2015 during a large police probe targeting the underworld “elite” — some of the world’s strongest and wealthiest Mafia clans, authorities said.

  Vincenzo Macri

Vincenzo Macri

That large drugs, guns and money probe, called Operation Acero-Krupy, brought the arrest of more than 50 alleged mafiosi in Italy and warrants against a dozen men living in Canada.

Macri, however, escaped the dragnet. He was living in Holland at the time and running a flower business.Polícia Federal in Brazil said Macri was arrested June 9 as he attempted to board a plane at Guarulhos International Airport, the main international airport serving São Paulo.

“The prisoner used a false Venezuelan identity and presented himself as Angelo Di Giacomo,” Brazilian police said in a statement. He was destined for Venezuela, where he is believed to have been living quietly since the 2015 raids.

Brazilian police said Macri is accused of organizing the internal affairs of the Mafia organization, gathering and transmitting important information between Italy, Canada and Holland.

The organization is sometimes called The Siderno Group because the constellation of allied mob clans have roots to the town and area around Siderno, on the eastern coast of southern Italy in Calabria, at the toe of the boot-shaped map of Italy.

The accused man’s father was legendary Mafia boss Antonio Macri, who was killed in an ambush in 1975. The elder Macri was called “the Boss of Two Worlds” because he forged links between his homeland and North America. The Macri clan had a tremendous impact on the history of Canada’s underworld.

Antonio Macri’s friend, Michele “Mike” Racco, came to Canada from Siderno in 1952 and ran a bakery in Toronto but also the Canadian arm of Macri’s organization. With Macri’s backing Racco became a leading underworld figure. Over time, the Canadian connection became crucial to the ‘Ndrangheta’s rise as leading drug traffickers, Italian authorities said.

  Mike Racco

Mike Racco

(The ’Ndrangheta is the proper name of the Mafia that formed in Italy’s region of Calabria.)

The “families present in Canada began their climb to the top of the criminal world, turning themselves very slowly into the point group for those in Calabria interested in selling drugs,” says a 2010 indictment in Italy against international mobsters.

In 2015, dozens of accused mobsters were arrested in Europe in Operation Acero-Krupy — the very name demonstrating the Canadian connection: acero is Italian for “maple,” while Krupy is a purposeful misspelling of the name of a family under investigation.

The operation revealed further evidence of the close, ongoing ties between the current members of the Siderno Group in Italy and Canada. Prosecutors claim hidden microphones captured conversations between Vincenzo Macri and his brother-in-law, Vincenzo Crupi, who had recently returned to Italy from Canada.

“Crupi, coming from Canada, provided a detailed report to Vincenzo Macri about the outcome of his meetings in Canada with members at the top of the ’Ndrangheta operating in that territory,” prosecutors wrote, summarizing their allegations, translated from Italian by the National Post.

The conversations, authorities say, “seriously highlight the danger of an escalation of an armed conflict within the coterie of ’Ndrangheta clans, operating for a long time in Canadian territory. After hearing the wiretaps, authorities in Italy warned Canadian police that mobsters here seemed on the brink of war.

Inter-clan friction in Canada sharply increased after the 2014 murder of Carmine Verduci, the prosecutors say. Verduci, 56, was an important mobster in the Toronto area, described as a transatlantic go-between for gangsters in Italy and Canada, until he was shot dead outside Regina Sports Café in Woodbridge in April 2014.

Prosecutors of the Italian case said Crupi spoke directly about Verduci’s still-unsolved murder; Crupi called it an “assassination,” and alleged it was “planned and determined” by two brothers from Vaughan, Ont., who are considered fugitives in Italy for Mafia association, documents filed in court in Italy say.

Operation Acero-Krupy began when police in Italy eavesdropped on conversations between two other men who also have close ties to Canada. Giuseppe Coluccio and his younger brother, Antonio Coluccio, are both former residents of Ontario. Giuseppe Coluccio was deported in 2008 and the younger left under pressure from immigration authorities in 2010, leaving his wife and children here.

The ’Ndrangheta is built on a confederacy of like-minded clans, each relying on family bonds. It is similar, but separate from the better-known Mafia of Sicily, called Cosa Nostra. Police around the world say the ’Ndrangheta has become the most dangerous and powerful Italian crime group.

A national risk assessment by the RCMP recently identified the ’Ndrangheta in Canada as a priority threat. As reported by the Post in 2010, Italian authorities said at least seven primary ’Ndrangheta clans operated in the Toronto area and the organization had climbed “to the top of the criminal world,” by establishing a “continuous flow of cocaine.”

In 2010, prosecutors said there was “an unbreakable umbilical cord” between the ’Ndrangheta in Canada and in Italy.

Macri remains in custody in Brazil pending extradition to Italy.

Anonymous Travel through Airports

The Keys to Successful Anonymous Travel through Airports

At Amicus, we have the knowledge and expertise to guide you through airport screening upon arrival.

If at all possible use the Passport self-service kiosks that are part of the Automated Passport Control system found at many Airports. Travelers scan their passport, take a photograph using the kiosk, and answer a series of questions confirming flight and biographic information. Once passengers have completed the series of questions and submitted their Customs declaration form, a receipt will be issued then bring their passport and receipt to a Customs/Passport Officer to finalize their inspection for entry into the country. Kiosks are currently in operation at more than 80 airports around the world.

The procedures and techniques used by customs agents at international airports to determine which passengers are sent to “secondary screening”, where they are questioned in detail about their travel and lodging plans, and their luggage and personal effects are thoroughly examined.

#1 - STAY CALM

In an almost overstatement of the obvious, the first and likely most important element of remaining covert and undetected when passing through customs and other security checkpoints at international airports is to “appear calm.”  For instance, security officials at airports like Ferihegy Airport in Budapest utilize one-way mirrors and closed-circuit TVs to screen incoming passengers for indications of nervousness or reserved panic.

#2 - KEEP YOUR STORY SIMPLE

We believe it is best to take a “less is more” approach.  We advise our clients to say as little as possible and to keep their answers simple, short, and succinct -- especially when presented with the two most frequently asked questions at customs in just about every country on the planet: 

  •  What is the purpose for your trip?

In nearly every situation, this is often the first question travelers will be asked by a customs officer. This question has nothing to do with a traveler's vacation plans - instead, the purpose of a trip could change the type of visa required for entering the country, or subject travelers to different regulations prior to entering. As a matter of best practice, always be honest with customs officials about the purpose of a trip. A dishonest answer could result in detention, or even expulsion from a foreign country.

  •   How long do you intend to stay?

This common question has less to do with a traveler's vacation plans, and everything to do with national security. Customs and border protection officers often ask this question to assess if travelers qualify to enter the country, and if the visa they are holding is the correct one for their stay. While some countries allow for a 90-day stay with an on-arrival visa, others require travelers to apply for their visa well in advance.

Depending on the planned length of visit, savvy travelers should be prepared to explain the length of their visit. Short-term stays of less than a week and long-term visits of more than a month usually receive a follow-up from the customs officer about their activities during their visit. Smart travelers should prepare to answer truthfully about their activities while traveling. 

  •  Where are you staying?

Unlike the first two questions, customs officers often ask about housing arrangements to ensure a traveler is not a risk. Travelers giving very generic answers including "at a hostel, "with a friend," or "at an Airbnb" may raise red flags for officers. As a result, travelers may get even more questions about their visit, and could be detained until their travel plans are verified. 

Smart travelers prepare with the name of the hotel they are staying at, or the address of the friends, family members, or Airbnb property they will be staying with. In addition, those who are planning to stay in a hotel or hostel should always keep a confirmation of travel plans available. Having detailed stay information on hand can help travelers clear customs faster and with less frustration. 

  • What is your occupation?

This common customs question has less to do with a fascination of global occupations, and more to do with analyzing risk. When a customs officer asks about occupation, it is  not only an indicator of their financial capacities while in a given country, but also a method to analyze behavior. Travelers who cannot give an answer quickly or directly may be directed to additional questioning by customs. Smart travelers answer the occupation question directly and quickly, and are prepared to understand that certain occupations (like "journalist" and "law enforcement") could result in follow-up questions.

  •   Do you have anything to declare?

Depending on where a traveler is entering, certain items may be restricted or prohibited at your destination. When entering the United States, baked and prepared goods can be brought back without inspection. However, meats, fruits, and vegetables may be subject to closer inspection or confiscation. 

Some embargoed goods may also not be brought back, depending on the country. For travel into the U.S., this includes many items originating from Cuba, Burma, Iran, or Sudan. Always keep a list of your items purchased on your person when going through the checkpoint, and be sure to declare all goods purchased abroad that you are bringing back with you.

Airport security officials around the world have made a practice of also using social media to verify a passenger’s story.  They check profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media sites to check the validity of someone’s identity against their legend/story.

Amicus will establish and show you how to maintain a profile consistent with their covert identities on all major social media websites.

How hard is it to leave the USA being a fugitive from the law?

Surprisingly easy.

After 2010, American citizens are required to have a passport to return from overseas travel destinations, so the traditional means of leaving the country (airports, cruise lines, border crossings, etc) will often require that show a valid US passport before you are allowed to board and depart. Unless you have a passport (which most Americans do not) you are unlikely to leave by those routes.

However:
 

  1. As noted by several answers on here, the overwhelming majority of the US/Canadian border is unguarded - Remote areas in Maine, Minnesota and North Dakota have no border coverage and fugitives can simply stroll into Canada. When you are in Canada, unless you LOOK or act like an American, you are unlikely to attract attention to yourself and if you are discreet, you could live there undisturbed for many years. Also, despite what one answer on here claims about the ability to “work under the table” being restricted in Canada, there are numerous refugees in the country who work in construction, baby sitting and bars who are not on the company owner’s books.
  2. The Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos islands, the Dominican Republic and the British Virgin Islands are all within 100 miles of US territory - Traveling to them by sea isn’t a difficult task and many people can simply come ashore, head into an urban area and blend in with tourists, traveling businessmen or expatriates. Here, unlike Canada, the employment opportunities will be minimal as they are relatively poor nations and territories. The Dominican Republic poses a special challenge for a fugitive who does not speak Spanish and the crime levels there make it a place of questionable safety.
  3. If you are a wealthy or a skilled pilot, you can either charter a flight out of the country or fly an aircraft out yourself - One “open secret” of the US borders is that few aircraft flying OUT of the United States are rarely challenged. In 5-10 hours, you could be well outside of the United States and in another country. From there, you can either stay in hiding or you can travel to another nation.
  4. If you are wealthy or a skilled sailor/navigator can either charter a yacht or sail a boat out of the US - As with flying, fewer vessels leaving US waters are searched than those arriving or transitingthem would be. Within several hours (See #2) to several weeks, you will arrive at a foreign country and you’ll have the choice to remain there or travel from there to another location.
  5. Mexico - The “court of last resort.” Anybody can get into Mexico. However, traveling further than 25 miles into the country requires a travel pass issued by the Mexican government. If you are already wanted and in a fugitive database, this may prove to be a problem. If you are on the run, but have yet to be entered into the system, you’ll be given the pass and you can travel deeper into the country. Mexico, however, is not the ideal location for an American fugitive. The levels of xenophobia in the nation are very high and unless you are fluent in Mexican Spanish, you’ll immediately be recognized as being a foreigner and you should expect a visit from the authorities. Also, the drug cartel violence has rendered much of the country too dangerous to travel into or through by foreigners. Unless you are extremely wealthy and can hide in one of the nation’s heavily protected enclaves or you are Latino (preferably of Mexican ancestry)  and can speak fluent Mexican Spanish, it would be pointless to attempt to hide there.


Side Note: There are anywhere from 400-500k worth of fugitives being sought INSIDE the United States. These are people who are wanted for crimes ranging from multiple misdemeanors to felony murder and many of them go for years or even decades without being apprehended.

Unless there is a pressing need to flee the United States, careful consideration might be given to remaining at home and simply leading an exceptionally low-key lifestyle. This is especially true for a fugitive who has no assets and who cannot speak any foreign languages.