49 migrants arrested while trying to leave Greece with fake passports

UNHCR staffer helps refugees and migrants to register at the local police station on Kos Island in Greece. Photo: UNHCR/S. Baltagiannis ? [Photo Credit: United Nations}
UNHCR staffer helps refugees and migrants to register at the local police station on Kos Island in Greece. Photo: UNHCR/S. Baltagiannis ? [Photo Credit: United Nations}

Authorities said on Monday that 49 migrants have been arrested while trying to fly from airports on Greek islands to destinations elsewhere in Europe using forged passports.

“At Crete’s Heraklion airport, 49 people from Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, Libya, Pakistan, Haiti, Congo and Algeria were caught with false documents between July 21 and July 30.

“Six others were held at the airport on the island of Santorini,’’ police said.

The migrants had tried to board flights to Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland or the Netherlands.

“We have these cases every day,” a police officer from the eastern island of Kos told newsmen.

The current busy tourist season is seen by some migrants as an opportunity to get on the flights by fooling security at crowded airports.

According to police sources, a forged passport costs between 1,500 and 3,000 Euros (1,760 to 3,520 dollars).

People are also still attempting to reach Europe via the so-called Balkan route – although the once well-traversed path northwards has become largely impenetrable since its closure nearly 18 months ago.

On Monday, police stopped a van near Thessaloniki in northern Greece with nine migrants who had crossed the border from Turkey.

“Each of the migrants had paid the smuggler 900 Euros for the ride,” police said.

(dpa/NAN)


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