Illegal Chinese Migrant Used Lookalike Intern's ID to Stay in Israel

An illegal migrant worker from China was arrested yesterday after living on the grounds of Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer for two years, police said.

They said he had been using the staff card of a medical intern he resembles as a way of avoiding detection.

The laborer was one of six workers police arrested yesterday at a construction site at the hospital, where they were all working.

He had a tourist visa that expired two years ago, while the other five crossed illegally over the Egyptian border, police said.

All six detainees are being held at Maasiyahu Prison, where they are awaiting a hearing to determine whether they will be deported.

"What really surprised us was the resemblance between the picture of the doctor and the worker," said Peretz Ratzon, the police officer who carried out the arrests.

The intern used to work at the nearby Ichilov Hospital, and police are investigating how the migrant worker obtained his card.

Police raided the construction site after receiving information that a contractor was employing Chinese citizens living in Israel illegally. Employing illegal migrants is an administrative, rather than a criminal, offense in Israel, unlike employing illegal residents from the West Bank and Gaza.

"Unfortunately, many contractors prefer illegal migrants, usually to avoid paying fees to companies that supply them legally," said Ratzon. "We detain between 300 and 400 illegal migrants a month, but are goals are considerably higher."