Lawyer representing seven Chinese nationals in a trial on human trafficking and child labour threatens to pull out as funds
18 September 2023

The trial of seven Chinese nationals charged with human trafficking and child labour was today postponed to Thursday (21 September) to allow accused to raise funds to pay for their legal representation.

Counsel for the accused J. Kruger today told the Johannesburg High Court (South Gauteng High Court) that accused number one has failed on his commitment to ensure payments. Kruger said he had previously warned the accused that he would pull out of the matter because of a lack of financial instruction.

The accused in the trial are: Kevin Tsao Shu-Uei, Chen Hui, Qin Li, Jiaqing Zhou, Ma Biao, Dai Junying, and Zhang Zhilian. The accused are facing schedule six offences.

According to Kruger: “unfortunately, money buys the whiskey. If I am not paid, I will have no option - but to leave the matter."

Meanwhile, judgment in a Section 66 application filed by the State against accused number two Chen Hui is expected to be delivered during the next appearance. The accused was on bail of R55 000 and had violated his bail condition by trying to skip the country. He also had a previous criminal record.

Section 66 of the Criminal Procedure Act provides for the execution against movable property. It further allows for immovable property to be sold in execution.

The Chinese nationals were arrested following a joint operation carried out at their premises of a company called Beautiful City Pty Ltd located at Village Deep in Johannesburg. They were arrested on 12 November 2019 in a joint operation by the Department of Employment and Labour's Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES) branch together with the South African Police Services (SAPS)/ Hawks Unit and Department of Home Affairs.

The joint operation uncovered illegal immigrants some of whom were minors who are alleged to have been around the age of 15 at the time being subjected to horror working conditions and kept in the locked premises. Most of the migrants were Malawian nationals and others were Zimbabweans.

The accused are facing counts of human trafficking, contravention of Immigration Act, kidnapping, pointing a firearm, debt bondage, benefitting from the services of a victim of trafficking, conduct that facilitates trafficking, illegally assisting person(s) to remain in South Africa, and failure to comply with duties of an employer.

Chen Hui (accused number 2) and Zhang Zhilian (accused number 7) are in custody for violating their bail conditions. The other five accused are out on bail.

The matter was first heard in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court during bail hearing and was later transferred to the Johannesburg High Court. 

For more information, contact:

Teboho Thejane

Departmental Spokesperson

082 697 0694



Issued by: Department of Employment and Labour​