1000 Rohingyas sent abroad with fake passports: 100 held

3 Dec 2011, source from

A human trafficking syndicate hassent around 1,000 Rohingya refugees to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates,Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand with fake Bangladeshi passports replacingphotographs in the last two years.

At least 100 people, including 50 Rohingya, were arrested at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport during theperiod while trying to depart for different countries with these fakepassports, intelligence sources added.

The sources said, a humantrafficking network has been making forged passports replacing photographs byRohingya people and sending them abroad as Bangladeshi citizens. The syndicatewith the help of human traffickers led by Monir, Zisan, Rezaul and Atiq manages Bangladeshi passports and provides those among the Rohingya refugees. Policearrested six Rohingya men with fake Bangladeshi passports at the airport duringtheir bid to go to Saudi Arabia on September 11 and a Bangladeshi citizen forhelping them.

The six rohingyas have replaced their photographs in passports of other persons, said Selim Khan, seniorassistant superintendent of Armed Police Battalion (APBn).

He said Rohingya youths Mujibul Haque, Milon Mia, Ahmad Ali, Abbas Ali, Alamgir Hossain and Anwar were arrestedat around 8:30 am while trying to pass the immigration and another youth,Raisul, was arrested for helping them in the process.

"The Rohingya men even could not speak Bengali during the preliminary interrogation," said the policeofficial. He said it has been confirmed that they belong to Rohingya refugees.

Asked, Selim Khan said the detainees are youths and a travel agency located in the capital’s Fakirapoolarea was involved in the process by taking an amount of Tk 200,000 to 300,000lakh from each of them.

Earlier in the day, the detective branch of police arrested 18 other youths from the same airport while they weretrying to cross the immigration bearing fake visas in their passports.

While additional deputy commissioner Nazrul Islam Mollah said two travel agencies in the capital were involved in the process.

Rohingya people are minority Muslims from the Arakan state of neighbouring Myanmar who have been fleeing to Bangladesh to escape persecution from the military junta there since 1978.

The law enforcing agencies arrested about 90 Rohingya men in difference places in the country since the first week August, according to an officer who is working on Rohingya people inBangladesh.

"Most of the Rohingya people were arrested while trying to enter Bangladesh from their home land, Arakan, Myanmar. They were pushed backto their home after their arrest on the border. Some time, the security forceshanded them over to police for further action," said the officer.

Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) personnel arrested 17 Rohingyas from Naytonghill point of Teknaf upazila in Cox’s Bazar on September 11 for their illegal entrance and handed them over to the Teknaf upazila police.

A case has been filed with theTeknaf police under passport act, according to the Teknaf BGB battalionsources.

Seven Rohingya men were arrested by BGB from Nilla on September 5. They were pushed back after the arrest, according to an elder from Nilla. Also ten Rohingya men were arrested by Chondonach Police Station on September 4, who were living and working as day labourers in Dohachhari.

According to UNHCR, approximately 29,100 Rohingya refugees are staying in the official camps in the border areas– Kutupalong and Nayapara– under Cox’s Bazar.

About 200,000-500,000 Rohingyamen live among the local population in southeast Bangladesh, according to the US diplomatic cable leak.

A process to repatriate them has been stalled because of Myanmar’s reluctance to take them back.

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