Czech police bust ring forging EU passports
The accused sold fake documents to “foreigners from third countries” who were not allowed to enter EU territory
Czech police said Tuesday they had busted a crime ring forging Lithuanian passports, ID cards and driving licenses used by migrants to illegally enter the European Union.
The accused sold fake documents to “foreigners from third countries” who were not allowed to enter EU territory, said Pavel Hantak, spokesman for the organized crime squad.
The police charged ten suspects ranging in age from 28-46 years with forgery and facilitating illegal sojourn in the Czech Republic.
They face up to ten years in prison if convicted.
Five Ukrainians, all members of an organized crime group, are in custody after being nabbed in the May 18 raid.
The police did not reveal the nationality of the other five suspects.
Seven people who used forged Lithuanian documents to stay illegally in the Czech Republic were also detained, Hantak said without providing details.
He told AFP the case was unrelated to the recent arrest of three suspects in Prague, allegedly part of an international forgery ring. Another 16 suspects were detained in Athens on May 25 for the same crime in a Europol-coordinated raid.
Forgery and people smuggling have become common amid the ongoing migrant crisis that saw over one million people arrive in Europe last year, mostly from war-torn Syria.
Almost 200,000 have arrived from the Middle East and elsewhere so far this year.