A man, who was allegedly recruited from China on promises of work at a casino construction site, entered the CNMI as a tourist and illegally worked as a construction worker and driver for tourists on Saipan.
Kedong Huang, 32, was arrested by federal agents last Thursday.
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The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) filed a criminal complaint last Friday charging Huang with false representation and concealment of a material fact from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.
Assistant U.S. attorney James J. Benedetto, counsel for the U.S. government, filed yesterday an information charging Huang with one count of improper entry by alien.
Huang was taken before U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona last Monday for his initial court appearance. Benjamin Petersburg was appointed as court-appointed counsel for the defendant.
Huang immediately entered a plea deal with the U.S. government. When Saipan Tribune left the courtroom late afternoon yesterday, Manglona was still conducting a change of plea hearing.
According to the information, on March 6, 2017, Huang, a citizen of the People’s Republic of China, knowingly obtained entry to the U.S. by a willfully false and misleading misrepresentation.
Huang misrepresented to CBP inspectors that his purpose for entering the U.S. was for “tourism,” when in fact he intended solely to find work and reside in the U.S. beyond the time permitted under the CNMI-only conditional parole program.
In his affidavit in support of criminal complaint, Homeland Security Investigations ICE special agent Michael D. Lansangan disclosed that last Thursday HSI personnel responded to the Francisco C. Ada-Saipan International Airport pursuant to a duty call received from CBP officers.
Lansangan said HSI agents encountered Huang, whom CBP officers initially confirmed to be a CNMI-only conditional parole overstayer.
Lansangan said Huang allegedly admitted entering the CNMI as a tourist and working illegally without authorization.
Lansangan said Ports Police officers referred Huang to CBP officers after encountering him during a traffic violation outside the Saipan airport.
Huang was allegedly told numerous times by ports police officers not to park in a certain location at the airport and to move his vehicle.
Ports police determined that Huang did not appear to speak English, does not have a passport, and does not have a Saipan driver’s license.
CBP officers confirmed from the record that Huang overstayed his CNMI-only conditional parole validity date by more than 400 days.
Lansangan said during their interview, Huang stated that he was a construction worker in China for seven years prior to coming to Saipan.
While in China, Huang allegedly met a person from Saipan through the “WeChat” messaging application on the internet.
Huang said the Saipan person told him he can work at a casino construction site on Saipan and earn $2,000 per month, plus high overtime pay.
The Saipan man allegedly promised Huang that he will find him a job on Saipan and arrange for a work visa when he arrived on the island.
The Saipan man told Huang to pay him $6,000 when he arrives on the island for assistance in finding a job.
Huang stated he traveled to Saipan by himself and arrived on March 5, 2017.
Lansangan said subsequent record checks revealed that Huang traveled with his wife.
Huang stated that he met the Saipan man in person on his third day on Saipan.
He said the Saipan man contacted him on WeChat then visited him at his hotel.
The Saipan man told Huang he could stay at the construction site, but he declined. Huang then paid him $1,350 in cash and told him that the remaining balance was to be deducted from his monthly pay at $1,000 per month.
Lansangan said according to Huang, the Saipan man took him to the casino construction site the following day.
Three days later, the Saipan man took Huang to a different construction site, but that he did not work there that day.
Huang said he began working on March 10, 2017, but stated he did not work at the large casino construction site because they did not need his construction specialty at that time.
Huang said he was picked up every day by car and driven to the construction site to work. He identified the boss at the construction site as only a local man.
Huang stated that he now works for himself and his job involves taking tourists around Saipan.
Huang posts his information on WeChat and tourist clients reach him through WeChat. He stated that he earns an average of $1,000 to $2,000 per month.