Migrants continue to try to enter the EU on forged passports despite police crackdowns
Migrants continue to try to enter the EU on forged passports despite police crackdowns

71 migrants have been arrested on the Greek island of Crete. The German news agency dpa reports, the migrants carried fake passports and identity cards and had intended to travel onto other European countries.

Greek police said most of the migrants were from the Middle East and North Africa, and had wanted to go to Germany, France, Austria and Scandinavia.

Security forces in Greece regularly intercept groups of migrants trying to enter Europe from Turkey without first registering in Greece. In mid-August, Athens and Berlin agreed that all migrants reaching the German-Austrian border who had already registered in Greece could be sent back there.

Greece has seen a large increase in migrant arrivals in recent months on the islands and at its land border with Turkey.

Huge trade in stolen passports

Police say they make more arrests of migrants attempting to travel on forged documents during the tourist season, dpa reports.

After a crackdown earlier this year, the European Union's law enforcement agency Europol announced it had dismantled a criminal network supplying ID and travel documents to migrants and smugglers. In a joint operation, Greek police arrested several members of the network and seized more than 900 travel documents, 620 of which had been recorded as lost or stolen in Europe.

Europol said the passports and ID cards had been stolen from pedestrians, passengers on public transport and parked vehicles. Members of the criminal group based in France often forwarded genuine lost or stolen travel documents using international courier companies.

They said documents were sold on at prices based on the type of identity document, the country of issue and matching personal likeness of the original owner.


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