Indian traders held in China to be deported soon



Beijing: Twelve of the 22 Indian diamond traders, detained in China on charges of smuggling, will be deported in about a week's time following a Chinese court's order.

"The 12 will be sent back home in about a week's time depending on the availability of seats on the flights," Indramani Pandey, head of the Indian Consulate in Guangzhou, told PTI over phone in reply to a question.

Pandey said most of the legal formalities concerning their release and deportation were completed and they would be deported soon. Earlier on December 7, the Shenzen Intermediate People's Court, which heard the traders' case, ordered their deportation while sentencing others for varied prison terms.

Another detained Indian trader was released on bail with orders that he should stay in China as he was wanted in connection with the appeal petition filed by a Chinese citizen arrested in connection with the case.

The other nine persons were sentenced to varied prison terms ranging from six years to three and half years. The 22 traders hailing from Gujarat were arrested in southern China's Shenzhen city and were charged with smuggling diamonds worth 50 million yuan (USD 7.3 million). They were accused of sourcing diamonds illegally from Hong Kong, for sale in the Chinese market through their "henchmen".

The court's verdict brought about a sigh of relief as majority of the detained merchants were let off with deportation orders. The case turned out to be politically sensitive as both Central and Gujarat governments made repeated appeals to the Chinese government for the early release of the detained traders.

PTI