A suspected visa forgery ring in Bangladesh has been smashed following an investigation by the UK Border Agency and local police.
A large haul of fake visas, stolen passports and immigration stamps, which could have been used to attempt to illegally enter countries including the UK, was uncovered when police swooped on a forgery factory.
Eight people were arrested after a fake visa discovered by a UK Border Agency officer in the capital Dhaka was traced back to the forgers’ base in the city of Sylhet in north east Bangladesh.
Following the detection of the forged visa by an entry clearance officer, the agency’s RALON (risk and liaison overseas network) team in Dhaka worked with the US Embassy in Bangladesh and Bangladeshi police to trace the forgery back to the factory.
Bangladeshi immigration special branch officers then moved in on the alleged forgers. The police investigation is ongoing.
‘We have made our border safer as a result of this operation,’ said regional director, Chris Dix.
‘We will not tolerate abuse of the UK’s immigration controls and this operation shows what we can achieve through close and effective co-operation with the Bangladesh authorities and other countries to target this kind of fraud.
‘The UK Border Agency has effective verification systems as part of the UK visa application process. Where it uncovers fraud and forgery, the UK Border Agency will refuse an application, ban the applicant from travel to the UK for 10 years and will refer applicants and agents to the Bangladeshi police.’
Border agency officers receive detailed forgery and detection training and last year detected over 27,000 forged travel or supporting documents used to support visa applications worldwide.