Turkish exhibitors detained at China's Xiamen Stone Fair

The website of H¸rriyet Daily News reporting the detention of four Turkish business people during the Xiamen stone fair.

Four Turkish businesspeople were detained in China during last week's Xiamen Stone Fair accused of tax avoidance.

The people arrested have only been identified by their initials – O S, M O, A and Y C. They were detained at their hotels in the early hours of the final day of the exhibition (March 9), according to the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet Daily News.

The Turkish men are employees of three Turkish companies that have offices in China.

Police confiscated some documents and products during the raids.

The operation was based on accusations that the companies, which have offices in Guangzhou, Yunfu and Turkey, have collaborated with some Chinese firms since 2016 to transfer cheap raw marble to China without paying taxes.

According to the accusations, 240,000 tons of marble worth 400million Chinese Yuan (about £42million) were transferred to China without paying 30million Yuan (about £3million) in taxes.

According to the Turkish newspaper, Turks who attended the fair said the news of Turkish citizens being detained had created panic among the Turkish exhibitors.

“We heard that police went to their hotels early in the morning and detained them,” Hürriyet Daily News was told by one of the exhibitors.

“After the information became public, some stone company owners rescheduled for earlier flights." Apparently some of them left immediately for Hong Kong.

Another Turkish businessperson told Hürriyet Daily News he would never go back to China.

Speaking before the fair, Mevlüt Kaya, chair of the Aegean Mineral Exporters’ Association, said 150 Turkish companies would be attending the fair in Xiamen.

Turkey is one of the world's largest stone exporters, with international sales of marble, granite, travertine, and slate, processed and raw block, totalling 7.4million tons worth $1.9billion (£1.33billion) last year, according to the Istanbul Mineral Exporters’ Association.