25 August 2016
A Chinese national suspected of an instrumental role in smuggling migrants into countries including the UK and France, was arrested today at his home in Welling.
Chen Canjian, 43, was apprehended in an early morning raid by officers from the National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police, acting on a European Arrest Warrant.
Chen - who used the aliases of Jian Chen, Jian Ding and Chen Can Jian and went by the nickname of “The Bald” - was wanted as part of a criminal group based in France, having previously been resident in the Ile de France region.
He is alleged to have procured false documents for Chinese migrants seeking to travel to the UK, and his mobile phone number was found in the contacts of several suspected migrants arrested in France.
According to French authorities, Chen would receive payment from the China-based families of those using his services.
Following his arrest, Chen appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court and was remanded in custody until his next hearing on 2 September 2016.
NCA regional Operations Manager, Graham Roberts, said:
“Chen is suspected of making substantial amounts of money from smuggling people across borders, and was therefore a target of the UK’s Organised Immigration Crime Taskforce. Working with partners around the world and in the UK, we continuing to identify and pursue the criminals facilitating illegal immigration, and take action to disrupt their networks.”
The UK’s Organised Immigration Crime Taskforce, called Project Invigor, is primarily made up of officers from the NCA, Immigration Enforcement, Border Force, Crown Prosecution Service and the police.