Authorities in southern China have detained nearly 50 illegal immigrants from Southeast Asia, state media reports.

According to Xinhua news agency, police at Jiangmen city in the south of Guangdong province

received a tip in early February that the group were preparing to illegally enter coastal cities to take up work.

Officials carried out a sweep in Heshan city, north of Jiangmen, on Wednesday night and caught 49 illegal immigrants.

Initial investigations showed that the 29 men and 20 women all came from Southeast Asia.

Most were from the same village or were related, with four pairs of married couples, three pairs of sisters, and two pairs of father and son.

Most were born in the 1980s.

According to one of the detained illegal immigrants, an agency helped them cross the border, charging between 800 yuan (US$123 or HK$953) and 8,000 yuan.

They were hoping to get work in southern China’s cities, where the salaries were as much as ten times what they would earn at home.

Investigations are ongoing.

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