Category Archives: China

New Book : The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream (Books)

“In 1992, after a crackdown on corruption in the Bangkok airport (where snakeheads procured fake documents), the smugglers turned to boats, or what was known as the “bucket business.” Most ships were barely seaworthy; some had as many as a hundred cabins and packed the bodies in. Routes were byzantine: the FBI tracked one group of migrants from Fuzhou to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Dubai, Frankfurt, and then Washington. Keefe puts it this way: “In the minds of the snakeheads, humans were ultimately a form of cargo like any other, subject to the economies of scale.” Like the global trade in more ordinary goods, shipping on the sea worked, leaving U.S. authorities in its wake for quite a while.”

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