BEIJING: Several southern Chinese cities are offering cash bounties worth tens of thousands of dollars for leads on smuggling rings that have brought coronavirus carriers from Hong Kong across the mainland border.
Beijing has adhered to a strict zero-COVID strategy that has kept infection numbers low by employing strict border closures, targeted lockdowns and long quarantines.
Arrivals from Hong Kong – which is battling a serious flare-up in coronavirus cases – normally undergo weeks of isolation.
But four people tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday (Feb 14) after illegally entering mainland China from the city without quarantine, according to local authorities who announced cash rewards for clues on people smuggling.
A notice on Thursday by police in Huizhou, a city not far from the border, said they wanted to “mobilise the masses” to participate in anti-smuggling work and guard against imported virus cases.
“Those who report clues on smuggling activities found to be illegal or criminal will be given a reward of up to 200,000 yuan (US$31,570),” Huizhou authorities said.
They also detailed different cash amounts for reporting smuggling boats or organising for others to illegally cross borders.