Jury trial begins for alleged overstaying Chinese tourist

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The trial of a man who was caught allegedly overstaying on a tourist visa started yesterday at the US District Court for the NMI, soon after the completion of the jury selection.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona Manglona selected 11 female jurors and one male juror for the trial of Xinzhou Ren.

Manglona then called for an overnight recess and said the trial would continue today at 8am, with both parties presenting their opening statements.

According to Saipan Tribune archives, Ren is an overstaying Chinese tourist arrested for allegedly lying to a federal agent that he had fled China because of fear that he would be persecuted or harmed due to his religious affiliation. Ren allegedly admitted to a federal agent that he did not have such fear and was, in fact, staying in the CNMI for other reasons.

Ren is charged with making false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement.

DHS Homeland Security Investigations special agent Nicole Sively stated in her affidavit in support of the criminal complaint that during an administrative interview on May 13, 2019, Ren stated that he told the officers at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport that he was on Saipan as a visitor.

Sively said that, according to Ren, he used that as an excuse because he wanted to escape China.

Ren stated he was not arrested in China, but was wanted by the police in Hebei Province, China, in 2015.

Ren also allegedly stated that he left China because his government persecuted him due to his religion. The defendant stated he feared he would be harmed if he returns to China.

Sively said Ren later admitted he did not have such fear and was staying in the CNMI for other reasons. Sively said Ren was then released from HSI custody and scheduled for service of immigration documents at a later date.

Ren then presented himself at the Enforcement and Removal Operations Office on Saipan, requesting the return of his passport and presenting a copy of his passport and an itinerary with booking information for a flight to China.

Sively said she requested that Ren report back to the HSI Office where he presented the HSI personnel with a copy of his passport, a receipt in the amount of $535, and an itinerary for departure from Saipan.

Ren also provided the HSI personnel with a sworn statement confirming that he had told Sively that he fled China because of fear that he would be persecuted or harmed due to his religious affiliation.

Sively said Ren told her that he no longer wished to “claim asylum” and wanted to return to China. Ren was then arrested.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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