Migrant crisis: ‘Document forgers’ held in Greece and Czech Republic

Source: BBC

Police in Greece and the Czech Republic have arrested more than 20 people suspected of forging travel documents for migrants trying to enter Europe.

European police agency Europol said visas and passports were sold for up to £2,500 ($3,600) and sent across the EU, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Greek police said the criminal networks were also involved in smuggling people across borders.

About 100 people are still wanted in Greece and other countries.

Europol said the network was based in Athens and consisted of two criminal groups, one run by Sudanese people and another by Bangladeshis, and 16 people have been arrested in Greece.

Refugees wait to be transferred to centres during a police operation at Idomeni refugee camp at border between Greece and Macedonia. 26 May 2016Image copyrightEPA
Image captionHundreds of thousands of migrants have illegally entered the EU over the past year

Both groups forged passports, national ID cards, Schengen visas, driving licences, asylum seekers’ registration cards and residence permits, police said.

 

Ten suspects were arrested in the Czech Republic, where a separate group would send stolen or lost travel documents to Athens for the Bangladeshi and Sudanese groups to falsify.

A police spokesman in the Czech Republic said seven migrants were also arrested for using forged documents.

The Sudanese-led group helped up to 15 migrants a month enter the EU at a cost of up to nearly £4,000 ($5,800, €5,200) per head, Greek police said.

In other developments in the migrant crisis across Europe on Tuesday:

  • The death toll from migrant shipwrecks in the Mediterranean last week has been revised upwards to 1,000. International Organization for Migration spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo gave the new figure which comes after an estimate on Sunday of 700 deaths by the UN refugee agency.

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