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Cablegate: Request for 212(F) Visa Revocation for Corrupt Dominican Consul in Hong Kong

VZCZCXYZ0014
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDG #1692/01 1941101
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 131101Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY SANTO DOMINGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8758
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0094
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG PRIORITY 0131
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI PRIORITY 0079

S E C R E T SANTO DOMINGO 001692

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR P, WHA, WHA/CAR, CA/VO/L/C ANDREW KOTUAL,

ALSO FOR CA/VO/L/A BRIAN HUNT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/10/2027
TAGS: CVIS OPRC PHUM KCRM KCOR CH DR
SUBJECT: REQUEST FOR 212(F) VISA REVOCATION FOR CORRUPT DOMINICAN CONSUL IN HONG KONG

REF: A. TD-314/30639-06
B. SANTO DOMINGO 0733

Classified By: ECOPOL COUNSELOR MICHAEL MEIGS. Reason 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (SBU) This is an advisory opinion requesting the revocation of the B1/B2 nonimmigrant visas issued to Casilda Teonilde CASADO DE CHEUNG; her husband, Pak Shing CHEUNG; her brother, Roger CASADO ALCANTARA; and her children, Yin Mey,
Yin Ney, Sheung Leung, and Jean Ney CHEUNG CASADO, under the
Presidential Proclamation under section 212(f) of the INA suspending "the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of certain persons who have committed, participated in, or are the beneficiaries of corruption in the performance of public functions where that corruption has serious adverse effects on" (...) "U.S. foreign assistance goals (or) the security of the United States against transnational crime and terrorism."

2. (SBU) Casilda Teonilde CASADO DE CHEUNG is the Director of the Dominican Trade and Development Office in Hong Kong, which is the Dominican Republic's diplomatic mission to the People's Republic of China (PRC) (the Dominican government recognizes Taiwan, rather than the PRC). Cheung was appointed to this position by the Fernandez administration. Her brother, Roger CASADO ALCANTARA, serves as the mission's deputy director, and her daughter, Jean Ney CHEUNG CASADO, is the assistant director, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) sources. Cheung is married to a Chinese national by the name of Pak Shing CHEUNG.

3. (S//NF) According to SAA sources, prior to traveling to Hong Kong to take up her new position, Cheung commented that she intended to become extremely wealthy in her new job. As noted in Ref B, she has followed through on this pledge primarily through the corrupt sale of visas to intending migrants. According to sources in the local Chinese community who have given reliable information on this issue in the past, Cheung's husband works directly with Chinese human smuggling organizations to identify potential migrants.

In many cases these migrants seek to use the Dominican Republic as a stepping stone in efforts to reach U.S. territory (refs A and B).

4. (S//NF) Once the migrants are identified, Cheung works to issue them with valid Dominican visas. The going rate for these visas is reported by various sources in the Foreign Ministry (Dominican Embassy to France), Chinese community and SAA to be approximately USD 10,000. The visa recipients almost never qualify for these visas; they lack the skills and/or resources that are prerequisites for investor classification, for example, or they have no family members in the Dominican Republic to justify classification under "family reunification." This means that those visas are issued in violation of Dominican law. Payments for this service are made in cash either directly at the Trade and Development Office in Hong Kong or at a nail salon in Santo Domingo that is owned by the brother of Cheung's husband, according to sources in the local Chinese community.

5. (S//NF) SAA has estimated the number of Chinese nationals smuggled through this arrangement at "roughly 4-20 (...) almost every week (since at least 2004)" (Ref A). As of early 2006 most all of these individuals traveled using visas that had been personally signed by Mrs. Cheung (Ref A). According to media reports and SAA contacts, these Chinese migrants are able to bypass regular processing at the airport and the scrutiny it entails because they travel with both their valid visas and with letters personally signed by Migration Director Amarante Baret. These letters are not issued to travelers from other countries, according to investigative reporting by independent newspaper Clave Digital. SAA is in possession of scores of such letters signed by Amarante Baret confirming the issuance of valid Dominican visas to hundreds (if not thousands) of Chinese nationals. In addition, Dominican authorities determined that the addresses declared by some of the arriving Chinese were incorrect and were not the actual destinations of those individuals.

6. (S//NF) Few of these travelers ever return to their country of origin. As noted in Ref B, investigative reporting by Clave Digital asserted that of 2,948 Chinese nationals who
had entered the Dominican Republic over the last two years using temporary business visas, only 432 had returned to China. The Foreign Ministry has gone on record disputing these numbers.

7. (C) Embassy requests a finding of ineligibility under section 212(f) in order revoke the nonimmigrant visas issued to Casilda Teonilde CASADO DE CHEUNG; her husband, Pak Shing CHEUNG; her brother, Roger CASADO ALCANTARA; and their daughter, Jean Ney CHEUNG CASADO as individuals who have "committed or participated in" (...) "corruption in the performance of public functions." Casilda CASADO DE CHEUNG
manages the mission and is in charge of the issuance of Dominican visas to intending migrants in violation of Dominican law. Her husband, Pak Shing CHEUNG, works directly
with the smuggling organizations to identify migrants, and works with his brother in Santo Domingo to arrange for the transfer of funds supporting this scheme. Roger CASADO
ALCANTARA and Jean Ney CHEUNG CASADO both work in upper management positions at the mission in Hong Kong, and are involved or, at the least, are the "beneficiaries of" the corruption that goes on at the mission. Embassy requests the
revocation of the visas issued to the minor children of Cheung -- Yin Mey, Yin Ney, and Sheung Leung CHEUNG CASADO -- because they are "beneficiaries of corruption in the performance of public functions."

8. (C) Cheung's corruption has "serious adverse effects on" (...) "U.S. foreign assistance goals." Many of the Chinese nationals smuggled under this scheme appear to be victims of trafficking in persons, the eradication of which is a major U.S. foreign policy objective. For example, upon arrival in the Dominican Republic, many of these migrants are forced to work in conditions of involuntary servitude (ref A). It is possible that others are trafficked to work as "mistresses for some men from the Dominican elite" (ref B). These credible allegations of high-level official complicity in trafficking were a major factor in the Department's decision to return the Dominican Republic to the Tier 2 Watch List this year, as noted in the 2006 trafficking report's text.

Revoking Cheung and her family's visas would send a powerful message to Dominican authorities that the U.S. Government takes these allegations seriously. It could encourage Dominican authorities to investigate and prosecute these and other corrupt officials who have conspired in trafficking, something authorities have declined to do thus far despite specific accusations in the trafficking report.

9. (C) Cheung's corruption also has "serious adverse effects on" (...) "the security of the United States against transnational crime and terrorism." The Caribbean is often referred to as the "third border" of the United States. Ref B outlines credible allegations that significant numbers of Chinese migrants smuggled under this system are using the Dominican Republic as a stepping stone in efforts to migrate illegally to the United States. This network could conceivably be exploited by organized criminals and terrorists, who would threaten the security of the United States if they were allowed to reach U.S. territory.
BULLEN

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