Half of 500 Beilida workers allegedly came in as tourists
Two alleged leaders of two groups of Chinese workers, mostly illegal workers assigned at the ongoing construction of the Imperial Pacific Resort in Garapan, were stopped from leaving Saipan yesterday.
Xiufang Qi and Wencai Guo, of Beilida Overseas (CNMI) Ltd., were arrested on charges of unlawful employment of aliens and bringing in and harboring certain aliens. It isn’t clear yet when they are going to be taken to the U.S. District Court for the NMI for their initial appearance.
As of yesterday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested a total of three persons and charged three more in connection with the search of MCC International and Beilida Overseas (CNMI) Ltd. offices last week.
MCC is a construction contractor for Imperial Pacific’s multi-million-dollar resort and casino project in Garapan. Beilida Overseas is a subcontractor of MCC.
FBI special agent Joe W. McDoulett filed yesterday separate affidavits in support of criminal complaints and arrest warrants against Qi and Guo.
In a search by the FBI at the offices of Beilida last Thursday, the FBI discovered several spreadsheets in Chinese titled “Beilida Complete Personnel Accommodation Statistics Chart,” McDoulett said.
The agent said the spreadsheet featured a column titled “Visa Type,” which listed over 150 workers as hei gong, a term to mean “undocumented worker.”
In the column titled “Team,” the listed workers are divided into teams assigned to named individuals, one of which is defendant Qi and the other is Heping Xu. Guo is also under Heping Xu’s team.
Qi’s team consisted of more than half of the listed “hei gong workers.”
McDoulett said a comparison of a random sample of names designated hei gong with current records from Customs and Border Protection confirmed that those individuals were visa parolees, and therefore not authorized to work.
The agent said Qi’s and Guo’s names also appear on the personnel list, and their visa type is CW.
McDoulett said subsequent “Beilida Complete Personnel Accommodation Statistics Charts” covering the period from March 7, 2017, and March 24, 2017, changed the designation under “Visa Type” from hei gong to “AAA.”
McDoulett said a comparison of these three spreadsheets confirmed that individuals previously identified as hei gong on the Feb. 7, 2017 chart, were the same individuals later identified with “AAA.”
Last Jan. 20, a Beilida worker made a written statement to Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division on Saipan, in which he claimed to have been an employee of Beilida from Nov. 6, 2016, as a construction worker.
The Beilida worker came to Saipan as a tourist. Another Beilida worker introduced him to Qi after his arrival on Saipan. Qi promised the worker 10,000 RMB per month for his employment.
At Qi’s direction, the worker provided his passport to Qi on Nov. 5, 2016. At the time of his statement, the worker had not received any payment.
Qi was allegedly responsible for assigning Beilida’s workers at the construction site to four subordinate team leaders.
Another Beilida worker provided a statement to Labor last March 13. He was allegedly recruited in China via a WeChat job advertisement for construction work on a casino on Saipan.
Upon arriving on Saipan, he was assigned to a workers’ barracks where he met Qi.
More than half of the 500 workers for Beilida came in as tourists. Approximately 260 of those workers are under the supervision of Qi. All Beilida workers provided their passports to Qi.
Last March 27, another Beilida worker provided a statement to Labor, in which he claimed to have worked for Beilida from Aug. 19, 2016, to March 25, 2017.
The worker said four team leaders operated under Guo’s supervision. Guo’s group consisted of 180 workers, while Qi’s group consisted of 280 workers.
The worker estimated that of the 180 workers under Guo, about 80 to 90 percent were tourist visa holders.
FBI arrested last Saturday MCC project manager Yuqing Zhao, 42, on the same charges. Also charged but have yet to be arrested as of yesterday were Hui Lu, 32, Hongwei Ma, 25, and Pei Ruan, 28.
Lu is president and director of Beilida Overseas. Ma claimed she is an employee of Marianas Enterprises Limited, but worked in the Beilida office.