The police in Lagos have arrested two Chinese nationals and two Nigerians operating a fake embassy at the Ejigbo area of the state.
Liu Honyang, 47, Sun Xinai, 49 , and their Nigerian collaborators, Oriyomi Olawale, 47 and Desmond Chinedu, 25, were apprehended during the raid on their office situated inside Golden Point Hotel and Suite on Duduyemi Street in Ejigbo.
The police said the suspects had conspired and swindled Nigerians who had planned to travel out of the country to seek greener pastures.
The police said it’s Rapid Response Squad acted on intelligence reports from victims which led to operatives lodging in the hotel for nine days to watch and monitor the activities of the suspects.
“On hearing the arrest news, some of their victims, showed up at the RRS’s Headquarters, recounting how they were duped respectively, hence their deportation from Trinidad and Tobago,” the police said in a statement on Sunday.
Adekunle Adefuye, one of the victims, told police investigators that he met the suspects through one of their agents, one Dorcas Sylver.
“She is a daughter to my brother’s pastor in Abeokuta,” Mr. Adefuye said.
“I told her my intentions and zeal to travel to United States of America.
“After a while, she told me to come to Lagos that she can procure the American visa for me.
“On getting to Lagos, she took me to these Chinese where I was told that I should go to Trinidad and Tobago.”
Mr. Adefuye said the suspects persuaded him to travel to Trinidad and Tobago, that it was easier to secure employment with at least US$3,000 as salary.
“Initially, I declined to take their bait, insisting that I preferred America to Trinidad and Tobago (T&T),” he said.
“But in the long run, they brainwashed me into agreeing to go to Trinidad &Tobago. It was at this point, I was told that I would pay N1.3 million for the whole process including visa processing and flight fare.
“The payment was made in installment. N376, 000 for Visa, ticket N850,000, accommodation N39,000 and Visa Fee N33,000, which I obliged and paid all the monies into Dorcas’ GTB Accounts; 0130671906.”
Mr. Adefuye said himself and one other traveller, Rasheed Ololade, were rounded up immediately they got to Trinidad and Tobago by the country’s immigration officers for coming into the country with fake visas.
“We spent two days underground inside the Police custody,” he said.
“They treated us like common criminals trying to enter the country illegally. We left Lagos enroute Lome on October 19th, 2016. From Lome to Sao Paulo in Brazil. From there, we moved to Panama where we boarded another plane to Trinidad and Tobago.
“On getting to the country, we were arrested by their security operatives accusing us of entering their country with fake visa and documents.
“We were locked up for 48 hours before we were deported on October 22nd, 2016 and arrived Nigeria the following day”, he added.
Mr. Adefuye said on return to Nigeria, they didn’t inform the suspects who had thought possibly they were lucky to have entered the Trinidad and Tobago without any challenge.
“It was one Good Samaritan that came to our rescue in Trinidad and Tobago, who pleaded for us when they threatened to prosecute us before we were sent back to Nigeria.”
Mr. Ololade said it was the same travel agent, Ms. Sylver, who persuaded him to go to Trinidad and Tobago too, adding that all the money he paid amounted to N1.3M into her account.
“I met Adefuye at their office in Golden Point Hotel and Suites, Ejigbo in Lagos,” he said.
“And we became good friends henceforth. We were only fortunate to have escaped being jailed in T&T for coming into the country with fake documents and Visas.
“They beat hell out of us and starved us for the whole two days before fortune smiled at us. The Police in T and T collected all our belongings including money and threatened to kill us. In fact, they were abusing Nigerians calling us unprinted names.
“In fact, we were lucky to have been deported because that country is a junkyard for drug addicts and dealers.
“Most of the Nigerians we met there were barely recognisable, and were high on drugs”.
“One of them, confided in me that he was struggling to survive by dealing in drug and that he has resorted to fate since coming home was difficult.”
Another victim, Friday Owah, who was at their office when they were arrested, said that he had just paid N600,000 after being convinced to jettison his Europe trip for Trinidad & Tobago.
Mr. Owah told police he was introduced to the suspects by one Mr. Oscar.
He said he paid into Ms. Sun’s GT Bank account.
“She promised to secure the visa for me within a space of two weeks,” Mr. Owah said.
“By the time the visa was ready, I was unable to eke-out another N850,000 for flight ticket, which made the T&T visa to get expired.
“I went back to see her to help me again for same visa. And she told me to pay another N150, 000. It was after I had made another payment of N150, 000 to her account that someone told me they don’t accept stamp visa but only electronic visa is allowed in that country.
“I went back to explain to her but she denied the information but still insisted that stamp visa is acceptable in that country.
“Then, I told her that I was no longer interested in T&T and she should return my money. I came to their office that fateful day to demand for the money when the Rapid Response Squad team came to arrest them.”
Another victim, Lukmon Odeyemi, a footballer, said he parted away with N125,000 for Trinidad and Tobago’s en route visa.
“The lady (Sun Xinai) charged me N400,000 but I was only able to raise N125,000 to her with the hope of balancing her by the month end,” he said.
Mr. Honyang, one of the arrested suspects, said he only helped her boss to do paper works and documents.
“We operated as separate entity as travel agency under the company’s name, Golden Point Hotel and Tour but our office is located inside the hotel,” he said.
“Sun Xinai is my sister, and she is the director of the travel agency. I only do paper works and documents for visa procurement.
“I don’t know how she secures visa for people. All what I know is that she travels to Abuja and comes back with that stamped visa. I am a phone repairer.”
The police said the Trinidad and Tobago Embassy confirmed the visas issued by the suspects as fake and the two Chinese agents unknown.
“…The Mission can categorically confirm that the individual SUN XINAI who is claiming to be an agent of this Mission is unknown to us,” the High Commission of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago stated in its letter dated 7th December 2016, referenced ABJ: 6/2/3/14, in response to RRS’s enquiry,
“Furthermore, this Mission does not use the services of an ‘agent’ in any capacity whatsoever and has never done so in the past either,” the letter, signed by Garth Lamsee, Acting High Commissioner, continued.
“With regard to the authenticity of the attached visas, the Mission can also categorically confirm that those visas were not issued at this High Commission and are clearly fraudulent.
“Noteworthy too is the fact that in June 2015, this Mission stopped the practice of issuing stamped visas in passports in favour of individual electronic visas issued from our country’s capital Port of Spain.”
But Sun Xinai, the major suspect, said she was unaware that stamped visa for Trinidad and Tobago was no longer tenable in that country anymore, according to the police.
Items recovered from the suspects during the raid include 25 international passports, 10 laptops, screw driver, five phones and paper documents.
While confirming the arrest, the Police Public Relations Officer of Lagos State, Superintendent of Police, Dolapo Badmus, said the police are on the hunt for all their agents and collaborators.
“I will also use this medium to advise the public to be wary of visa agents and anyone who wishes to travel out of the country should direct their applications to the Embassies,” she added.
The police said the suspects have since been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) for further investigation.