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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Judge orders continued detention of alleged HK fugitive

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has ordered the continued detention pending trial of Wei Zeng, an alleged Hong Kong fugitive who was arrested last week when he reportedly tried to enter Saipan using a different identity.

At a detention hearing on Wednesday, Manglona determined that Zeng poses a serious flight risk.

Manglona also found by a preponderance of evidence that Zeng, among other things, lied to the pretrial services officer that he never before traveled outside his country, the People’s Republic of China, before 2014, as it appears that he had a B1/B2 visa and his fingerprint is on file as a person who has previously entered the U.S.

Manglona remanded Zeng to the custody of the U.S. Marshal.

Preliminary hearing will be on Jan. 30 at 1:30pm.

Assistant U.S. attorney Ross Naughton moved for the continued detention of Zeng. Court-appointed defense counsel Bruce Berline opposed the motion.

Zeng was arrested after the U.S. government filed a complaint charging him with making a false statement to a federal agency.

According to Michael D. Lansangan, special agent with Homeland Security Investigations of the Department of Homeland Security, Zeng lied to U.S. Customs and Border Protection when he declared on his form I-736 that he has not previously applied for a U.S. immigrant or non-immigrant visa.

USCBP Form I-736 is a document that certain foreign-born, non-immigrant, non-visa holders visiting Guam or the CNMI must complete prior to entry. It includes basic questions, such as whether the foreign-born national had ever before applied for a U.S. immigrant/non-immigrant visa, or whether the foreign-born national had ever been arrested for any offense or crime.

Special agent Lansangan stated in his affidavit that on Jan. 16, he and other HIS Saipan agents learned from USCBP officials that a Chinese national, Zeng, had arrived on Saipan from Shanghai, China, and sought admission to the U.S. under the conditional parole program.

Lansangan said that Zeng had presented a People’s Republic of China passport to a USCBP officer, which identified Zeng as Zhiqian Liu with Feb. 5, 1963 as his date of birth.

Lansangan revealed that an electronic search or comparison of Zeng’s fingerprints collected by the USCBP officer on Saipan yielded a biometrics match to a Hong Kong national named Wei Zeng with Dec. 26, 1962, as date of birth.

Lansangan said Zeng also appeared to have been the subject of a U.S. visa revocation by the U.S. Department of State because he was a fugitive in Hong Kong.

USCBP officers discovered that Zeng also appeared to be a match to the subject of an active international police red notice.

Lansangan said the Interpol notice, which was published on Oct. 21, 2011, indicated that Zeng is a wanted fugitive from Hong Kong, and the subject of an arrest warrant or judicial decision from Hong Kong for bribery and conspiracy.

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