DONGXING, China (Reuters) - On a quiet river bend on the China-Vietnam border, a group of people clambered up a muddy bank. They had just glided across the river from the Vietnamese side in a longboat, guided by men on both banks signaling with flashlights.
The passengers scurried over to a group of men standing by their motorcycles, climbed aboard the bikes and disappeared into the night. Two Chinese police officers in uniform, stationed at a small post near the crossing point in the border town of Dongxing, watched impassively as they rode past.
"We come every night," said one young biker with spiky hair before he rode off. "Sometimes we carry (smuggled) goods into town. Sometimes we carry Vietnamese workers."
The bikers' illicit cargo on that late summer night last year was illegal laborers. They were headed on a 700-kilometre (440 miles) journey to the economic powerhouse of Guangdong. The province, filled with factories making goods for export, has been dubbed "the workshop of the world."