Fraudsters have allegedly found a way for Bangladeshis to obtain two legal, machine readable passports as well as a means to sneak into the Middle East.
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has detained three fraudsters with fake hand-written passports, visas and air tickets along with other tools used for forging official documents.
Speaking at a press briefing at Karwan Bazaar on Monday afternoon, RAB 10 Commanding Officer (CO) Jahangir Hossain Matubbar said the fraudsters were detained around 10pm on Sunday.
The detained were identified as Nasibur Rahman, 39, Atikul Islam Limon, 40, and Abdul Kuddus, 35.
Among the detainees, Atikul Islam Limon collected fake passports and visas forged by Nasibur Rahman at price of about Tk4 thousand. Limon would then sell them for up to Tk7 thousand to the clients. Abdul Kuddus was responsible for making the fake seals on the documents.
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According to the three detainees, they not only sold passports within Bangladesh, but also offered their services to Bangladeshis abroad who had misplaced their passports Dhaka Tribune
The CO said it was suspected that many criminals who were found to have fled the country may have used fake passports obtained from fraudsters like the detained to make their escape, as they were cheap and easy to buy on short notice.
Quoting the detainees, CO Jahangir said the fraudsters not only sold passports within Bangladesh, but also offered their services to Bangladeshis abroad who had misplaced their passports.
The fraudulent hand-written passports were sometimes used by illegal migrants to obtain legal, machine-readable passports, the CO added.
It was unknown how the false documents were not flagged at immigration, the CO said.
When asked whether dishonest passport and immigration officials may be involved, the CO said: “They are a big gang, with many members both here and abroad. We have been able to find some of their names, but have not disclosed them for the purposes of the investigation.”
Furthermore, the CO revealed that the fraudsters had an intricate system to get Bangladeshis into Middle Eastern countries despite many of them withholding visas. People striving to enter such countries would first enter India with the fake handwritten Bangladeshi passports, before obtaining fake Indian passports to enter the Middle East.