Seven men held in Dubai for running EU visa counterfeiting racket

Travel News Asia 2 October 2004

Seven men, including five Pakistani nationals, a naturalised Spanish citizen and a person whose nationality is yet to be determined are being held by Dubai law enforcement agencies for allegedly running a racket counterfeiting EU visas to travel to Europe, after Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD) officials foiled the attempt by a member of the group to travel to France via Dubai International Airport (DIA) on a fake visa.

The gang members were netted following a series of raids conducted by law enforcement authorities in Dubai on apartments in Al Baraha and several other locations in Deira used by these men, based on the information gathered from two men who were detained at DIA. The raids also revealed a cache of incriminating evidence including six blank counterfeit EU visas and implements used to make the counterfeits. The investigation also revealed that a Hungarian national who operates from outside the UAE is supplying the gang with fake visas.

Brigadier Saeed bin Belailah, Director, DNRD, said: "DNRD has always been at the forefront in stemming any unlawful activity relating to falsification and abuse of travel permits. Our diligence is highlighted by the fact that DNRD has leveraged human capital as well as technological expertise in making the passport and immigration control at every entry and exit point in Dubai, fraud proof. All our staff members are trained in latest fraud detecting and preventing technologies. In addition, DNRD has extensive information sharing and co-ordination programs with immigration departments from different countries in the world precisely aimed at preventing fraudulent activities."

On the morning of September 15, 2004, a group member, a Pakistani national and the first to be arrested, was booked to fly to Paris on an international airline via DIA. The individual was detained by immigration officials at DIA after it was determined that the visa stamped on his passport was a fake. Another member of the gang whose nationality is yet to be determined, was also arrested at the Airport terminal based on information supplied by the former. It is alleged that the former obtained the visa from the latter at a cost of AED 20,000. Subsequent raids, authorised by the Public Prosecutor, conducted in locations around Al Baraha on September 16, 2004 netted four more individuals, including three Pakistani nationals and a naturalised Spanish citizen, who is the alleged kingpin of the racket.

All the seven men are now under custody pending detailed investigation by the DNRD and other law enforcement agencies in Dubai.

Lt. Col. Rashid Bahkit Al Jumairi, Assistant Director, Investigation and Control Section, DNRD said: "DNRD has access to an extensive anti forgery database containing passport details of several hundreds of thousand of individuals from most of the countries in the world, the status and number of entries on each one of those passports. We were successful in detecting and preventing the said individual from travelling using falsified documents precisely because we scrutinised his documents, cross checking it with the information contained in the database, and came to the conclusion that the travel document in his possession was a fake. In addition, there are many security features that are inbuilt in the visas issued by authorities in Europe, all of which are detectable by the DNRD."

Captain Talal Ahmad Al Shengiti, Investigating officer, DNRD, said: "The unprecedented level of co-ordination between several law enforcement authorities and the airline officials themselves led to the successful conclusion of this operation. With this operation, we would like to send out a clear message to individuals or groups who are involved in counterfeiting activities, that DNRD and law enforcement official will not tolerate such abuses and will spare no expense to punish the perpetrators."

See other recent news from: DNRD

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