Fake visas, real miseries
Using fake visas, a transnational syndicate has reportedly been trafficking people to Italy and Canada. A section of airport officials allegedly supported the syndicate in exchange for Tk 4 to 5 lakh, by allowing fake-visa holders to go abroad.
And for entry into Italy, the syndicate pays around 3,500 euros to their associates there. An Indian national in Italy and syndicate member, reportedly takes care of this, claimed investigators.
Police's detective branch (DB) got the findings after arresting six Bangladeshi members of a "fake visa-making" syndicate.
A DB (Gulshan division) high official, who is involved in the investigation, shared the info with The Daily Star yesterday.
Detectives, however, did not disclose how many victims were sent abroad this way in the last five years.
The syndicate has been involved in trafficking since 2016. It first targets different people on social media and online-communication apps like Facebook, WhatsApp or imo, and then promises to send them to Italy or Canada. Then it makes fake visas for the victims.
The six arrestees are Juwel Prodhan (38), Moksedur Rahman alias Raj (40), Liton Mahmud (40), Ful Miah (52), Arif Hossain (50) and Abdul Kader Sohag (43). They were held from the capital's Shah Ali area on June 29.
The six later admitted to their crime and gave confessional statements before a Dhaka court on Saturday.
SM Rezaul Hoque, additional deputy commissioner of DB, said the syndicate has been involved in trafficking and issuing fake visas since 2016.
The syndicate first targets different people on social media and online-communication apps like Facebook, WhatsApp or imo, and then promises to send them to Italy or Canada, he said. Then it makes fake visas for the victims, said Rezaul.
Liton, who is an expert in forging visas, only charges Tk 2,000 to 4,000 for it. But the victims have to pay Tk 20,000, as the two associates of Liton -- Arif and Ful Miah -- get Tk 16,000 for bringing and managing victims, said investigators.
"The three arrestees -- Liton, Ful Miah and Arif -- in their confession said they have issued around 400 fake visas in the last five years," ADC Rezaul told this newspaper.
"We are now analysing and trying to find out more details in this regard," he said.
Detectives took all these steps after a woman filed a complaint. According to the complaint, arrestee Juwel talked to the woman on social media.
During conversation, Juwel claimed that he is involved in the manpower business and sends people abroad. He offered to send the woman to Italy or Canada.
After she fell into the trap, Juwel demanded Tk 7 lakh, and she paid by a bank cheque on May 10.
Then Juwel gave her an Italian visa on June 18 and a plane ticket on June 20.
On June 22, with the visa and ticket, she went to Dhaka airport. Eventually, after the airline official checked the passport and ticket details, they informed her that the visa was fake.
Detectives said Juwel and his two associates -- Raj and Sohag -- are mainly responsible for dealing with airport officials.
Additionally, Juwel primarily maintains contact with the syndicate's members in Italy,
said ADC Rezaul Hoque.
The arrestees are now in jail.
Juwel was accused in a previously filed human trafficking case.
Detectives said they have got names of some syndicate members from the arrestees' statement, and a drive is underway to arrest them.
But they did not disclose them, as it may alert the suspects, said Mashiur Rahman, deputy commissioner (Gulshan division) of DB.
"We may disclose more details following their arrest," he said.