22 Chinese stowaways found in ship container at Seattle

NATION DIGEST

April 06, 2006|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

SEATTLE -- Twenty-two Chinese stowaways were caught early yesterday entering the United States in a shipping container.

The 40-foot container was flagged for inspection, and the people hiding inside would have been found even if they hadn't been caught early yesterday by port of Seattle security, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.

The Rotterdam, a container ship that left Hong Kong on March 19, later arrived in Shanghai, where the container carrying 18 men and four women was loaded on board, said CBP spokesman Mike Milne. The Rotterdam left Shanghai on March 23, arriving at Terminal 18 on Seattle's Harbor Island about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Milne said.

About 1 a.m. yesterday, a port security officer was on routine patrol when some men were found in a secure area. Those men led officers back to the container where the other stowaways were discovered, said Leigh Winchell, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent in charge.

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