Police raid Sharjah 'forgery kitchen'

Two men are arrested after police find a "forgery kitchen" producing falsified documents designed to fool British and German immigration authorities.

A suspect is posed in front of fake credit cards, chequebooks, passports and visas that were seized by Sharjah Police, leading to the arrest of two suspects. Courtesy Ministry of Interior
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ABU DHABI // Two men have been arrested after police found what they described as a "forgery kitchen" that produced falsified documents designed to fool British and German immigration authorities. A raid in Sharjah a fortnight ago uncovered more than 100 forged documents including bank statements, credit cards, job contracts and resident visas, all intended to gain illegal entry into the UK and Germany through the UAE.

Although the raid was in Sharjah, it followed a tip-off to Abu Dhabi Police, and was approved by a search warrant issued by Abu Dhabi courts. Abu Dhabi Police said the haul was "one of the biggest and most dangerous in the history of Abu Dhabi emirate". Lt Col Dr Rashid Mohammed Bu Rashid, head of the organised crime unit of CID, said his officers had discovered a "forgery kitchen". Two men, M A M, 30, and N A M, 29 were found with 20 Pakistani passports, 15 entry visas, 50 local bank account statements and a number of forged credit cards and cheque books, police said.

Also found were 11 stamps used to forge the entry and exit dates in passports as well as to authenticate fictitious employment documents from local companies and banks and trade certificates. The two men allegedly forged UAE residency visas and pasted them into passports. They also provided fictitious job contracts and bank statements, specifying high salaries and senior positions to give to the German and British embassies in Abu Dhabi to obtain resident and work visas for the European countries.

Col Maktoum al Sharifi, head of the CID said: "Once they got visas to the European countries they would send them back to the home country so that those passport holders could travel from there to Europe." Col Sharifi said that according to information found on laptops, films and phone statements seized in the raid, the suspects were charging Dh30,000 (US$8,168) for each fraudulent visa. Also discovered during the raid were 108 identity photos, four colour photocopies of various passports and records of money exchanges between the Emirates and Pakistan.

"My department received secret information that two persons were seeking, through forgery, to issue resident and work visas to Europe for a number of persons in their home country by finalising and arranging their travels through the Emirates," Col Bu Rashid said. "We put together a special team who carried out the raid." According to police, MAM admitted to preparing the forged documents, including the visas, with the help of a third partner in Pakistan and a number of agents who helped them find customers. NAM denied the charges. As a precaution, Col Sharifi urged all the organisations affected, such as banks and companies, to change the colour and appearance of their stamps. He said such companies should change their stamps regularly as a matter of course. Under federal law, the penalties for forging government and official documents are three to 15 years in prison.