Spotlight News 1/12/2016

Customs Officers Seize More Than $3 Million of Smuggled Pearls From Shipping Container in Indonesia

Customs and excise officers at the Port of Tanjung Priok in Jakarta, Indonesia, seized 114 kilograms of smuggled pearls from a shipping container at the port. The shipment’s importer in Hong Kong falsified the consignment’s manifest, indicating the container was carrying a load of beads. Officials became suspicious of the shipment and conducted an inspection because beads are not commonly exported from Indonesia. The seized contraband has an estimated value of nearly $3.3 million. Authorities indicated this was the first-ever seizure of smuggled pearls from a shipping container at Tanjung Priok Port.

Number of Labor Strikes at Chinese Factories Increases 38 Percent in December, Wage Arrears Continue to be Primary Grievance

Labor strikes in Chinese factories increased 38 percent between November and December 2015, with wage arrears continuing to be the primary grievance driving workers to strike. Workers petitioned for the payment of wages in arrears in approximately 74 percent of strikes, highlighting the continuing difficulty Chinese employers are having as the economy struggles. Strikes involving more than 1,000 workers occurred at two shoe factories in Sichuan province and a shoe factory in Fujian province, as well as at an electronics factory in Shenzhen, Guangdong.  

Though the overall number of strikes in China increased in December, strikes in Guangdong declined 20 percent. This is consistent with a trend BSI has noted over the past several years in Guangdong, where strikes decrease ahead of the Chinese New Year after peaking in November. Approximately 52 percent of the strikes in Guangdong involved electronics manufacturers, while 23 percent involved apparel factories.

Zhejiang province saw the second-greatest number of strikes in December after Guangdong. Around 57 percent of the strikes in Zhejiang involved apparel factories. The number of strikes in China tends to decline in January as workers and factories throughout the country prepare for the Chinese New Year.

Thieves Hijack Cargo Truck, Kidnap Driver During Theft in Mexico’s Federal District

A pair of thieves, one of whom appears to have been driving a taxi, blocked the path of a cargo truck traveling in the Federal District and hijacked the vehicle. One thief kidnapped and beat the driver before forcing him to withdraw money from an ATM. The other thief drove the stolen cargo truck to Tlalnepantla in Mexico State, where authorities were able to locate and recover the vehicle. Police arrested both thieves following the theft. No information is available on the contents of the cargo truck. The industrial areas in the Federal District are hotspots for cargo truck hijackings and warehouse thefts.