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Fake Shaolin Monks Busted (Sort-of Lion Dance Related)

 
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 4:01 pm    Post subject: Fake Shaolin Monks Busted (Sort-of Lion Dance Related) Reply with quote

China busts stowaways-turned-Shaolin masters

Fri Aug 10, 1:12 AM ET

Chinese police have arrested three traffickers who tried to smuggle 12 teenagers out of the country by passing them off as martial arts performers from the famed Shaolin Temple, Xinhua news agency said on Friday.

The teenagers, aged 17-19, were charged $70,000-$90,000 each by the "snakeheads" for their complicated journey to a "certain country," Xinhua said.

They flew from their native Fujian province in the southeast to central Henan -- whose Shaolin Temple in the Songshan Mountain attracts foreign dignitaries like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Olympics chief Jacques Rogge -- in June, Xinhua said.

The temple was made famous in the West as the training ground for Kwai Chang "Grasshopper" Caine in the 1970s "Kung Fu" television series.

The teenagers were given passports with forged identities and were trained in lion dancing for a week by a Shaolin martial arts troupe, which regularly performed overseas, the official news agency said.

The troupe mingled the 12 with 16 real Kung Fu monks and set out for a trip via Hong Kong to the country Xinhua did not identify.

"The adulterated Shaolin troupe was busted on June 30 when they were leaving the mainland from Shenzhen," Xinhua said, referring to the southern Chinese city bordering Hong Kong.

The troupe's manager and coach and a Fujian snakehead who found the teenagers were arrested, Xinhua said.

Coastal Fujian is a hotbed for human smuggling. Tens of thousands of its residents pay hefty amounts of money to snakeheads every year in the hope of making a fortune in the West by doing manual labor.

Most of the 19 people killed by rising tide when picking cockles on an England beach in 2004 were illegal immigrants from Fujian. The death of Fujian illegal emigrants from suffocation in boats or containers is common.
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