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Chinese worker without a permit must testify against bosses after multi-agency bust

Posted: Wednesday, May 24, 2023. 10:31 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Mainland Chinese national Hai Feng Mai, 36, admitted that he failed to comply with the conditions of his visitor’s permit to Belize after being found without a valid worker’s permit at his job site at Mile 13 ½ George Price Highway Tuesday afternoon.

But while he was fined, authorities are more interested in the men who employed him and who face more serious charges.

Senior Magistrate Aretha Ford, hearing the case in court this afternoon, set a fine of $1,000 to be paid immediately, which he did.

The erstwhile employers – Zhi Ping Fang, 42, of Mile 13 1/2 George Price Highway, Belize District; Shun De Tan, 24, of Freetown Road, Belize City; and Chao Gui Cao, 47, of Mile 13 1/2 George Price Highway, Belize District, were jointly charged for employing Mai, a person not in possession of a valid workers’ permit. They pleaded guilty and were each fined $1,000 plus cost of court due by August 1. Each has Belizean permanent residency.

No removal order for Mai was requested by the Immigration Department, as they informed the court that additional charges for Social Security offenses are expected to be levied against Mai’s employers, and he had been cooperating with the authorities and is expected to be a critical witness in their case against the men.

Mai’s case came to light following a multi-agency operation on May 23 involving the Police Mobile Interdiction Team, the Department of Immigration, the Social Security Board, and the Department of Human Services.

As for Mai, who told the court, “I don’t want to go back to China. I want to stay in Belize,” the Senior Magistrate said he should inquire with the Immigration Department what procedures he needs to follow to make his wish come true.


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