(Rapaport…September 13, 2004) A Chinese organized crime group is using the South African city of Pretoria as a base to co-ordinate the global trafficking of conflict diamonds, The South African Star reported Monday.
Tsang Fen Yei, a member of Sun Yee On, a Chinese triad, told the newspaper that his group organizes the diamond smuggling operation from Bronkhorstspruit, east of Pretoria. Friday, a South African-registered aircraft left Johannesburg’s Lanseria airport for Cameroon, carrying $46 million worth of illegal rough diamonds.
Tsang said the rough diamonds were obtained from Africa’s diamond producing countries and smuggled to South Africa through a complex network, the newspaper reported.
It also quoted Tsang as saying that once smuggled out the country, the stones are intercepted by triad operatives and sorted into smaller parcels for delivery into the legitimate diamond market.
The Sun Yee On is one of the largest organized crime cartels in the world and uses the diamonds to launder vast sums of money, Tsang told the newspaper.