South Africa’s special police squad, Hawks, have raided the offices of Chinese telecoms infrastructure provider, ZTE. The raids which were carried out nationally, involved the anti-fraud police units and the immigration department. Around 18 workers of Chinese origin were arrested with many more documents confisticated for authentication.

A statement from Home Affair’s read in part ; “crack down on the illegal facilitation of foreign nationals into SA, using fraudulently acquired documents which is in line with government’s commitment to stem the tide of illegal immigration into SA”.

The raid netted around 18 Chinese workers with 17 being male and 1 female. This is the second raid after the November 2010 raid of the same offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Umhlanga parts of South Africa.

An EyeWitness News article quotes ZTE’s Chris Fuentes;

“This operation is led without any…protection… [from] the Constitution,” he added. “We are not a pawn shop, we are not a laundry shop – we’re a listed company. This is not acceptable. Simply come fairly and ask for the documents, they didn’t do it.”

ZTE is effectively blaming Huawei for the raids with ITWeb SA quoting ZTE’s executive SA executive director Tumi Magasa alleging; “Huawei told them to come and raid.”

South Africa’s police say that the operation was intended to crack down on the illegal entry of foreign nationals into South Africa using fraudulently acquired documents.

In Kenya, ZTE are involved in major telecommunications project with local operators including network upgrade of Orange Kenya network.