Sunday, 8 January 2012




Criminal gangs in Greece are renting genuine passports and identity documents to thousands of illegal immigrants, enabling them to enter Britain undetected, a Sunday Times investigation has found.

One Athens-based gang supplied an undercover reporter, posing as an illegal immigrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo, with a French identity card bearing the photograph of a woman who looked like her. The card enabled her to enter Britain unimpeded two weeks ago.

The leader of the gang showed undercover reporters eight identity cards and explained how illegal immigrants wait in a “safe house” until an identity document with a photograph similar to them becomes available.

The gang charges immigrants €1,000 (£824) to hire the identity documents, which they use to pass through border controls.

Our reporter used her identity card to fly from Athens to Brussels and then travel to London on the Eurostar. She passed unchallenged through four checkpoints in two countries, including a UK Border Agency check in Brussels.


Security agencies believe thousands of illegal immigrants are using the ID cards or passports, which the gangs say are rented from European Union citizens. Even if they are detected at Athens airport, they are subsequently released and simply try again.

According to Frontex, the EU’s border security agency, 90% of the illegal immigrants who entered the European Union in 2010 did so through Greece, many of them by crossing from Turkey.

Most of the estimated 470,000 illegal immigrants in Greece are seeking new lives in Britain and other European countries, where there are comparatively generous benefits and legal systems that are sympathetic to asylum applications.

Our reporters found several African gangs and hundreds of immigrants hanging around in Athens waiting for documents. Most of the migrants come from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Africa.

Once they have evaded border controls, the illegal immigrants return the papers to the gangs in Greece, allowing them to be used again by other immigrants.

Alternatively, they can buy the documents for an extra €500 and use them to claim benefits. In 2010, Yvette Nana was jailed for a year after Wood Green Crown Court in north London heard how she had fraudulently claimed £91,000 in housing and council tax benefits by using a French identity card.

A solicitor approached by the undercover reporter from The Sunday Times was advised that she could improve her chances of asylum by claiming she was a “minor” under the age of 18, and that she had no family left alive in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This was after the lawyer had been told that the undercover reporter had illegally entered Britain.

The immigrants who reach Britain cannot be sent back to Greece because of a European Court of Justice decision made before Christmas. The judges ruled that the Greek asylum system was so flawed that the human rights of immigrants could not be guaranteed if they were returned there.

The think tank Migration Watch recently estimated that only one in four of the 660,000 decisions on asylum claims made between 1997 and 2010 had led to the applicant being removed from the UK.

Each summer, tens of thousands of immigrants pour into Greece from Turkey. Most cross the Evros river, which forms the border between the two countries and which dries up in summer, on foot.

In Athens, they become easy prey for trafficking gangs who deploy touts to seek them out and then provide the immigrants with squalid accommodation as they wait for a suitable document to become available. They charge €100 a month.

The Sunday Times was taken to one such safe house where 14 Congolese immigrants were living in a basement flat.

The Greek authorities do not provide benefit payments to immigrants, so many turn to crime to earn enough money to live on and to pay the hire charge for the identity documents. Others sell trinkets to tourists unaware of the illicit trade they are funding.

Competition between the rival traffickers is fierce. Another gang offered our reporter identity documents for as little as €700 (£577) and even produced a British passport which they said they would hire out for €1,000.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

british colonialists didnt need any visa to come and rape our lands,our parents, destroy our cultures,suck out our resources..what goes around comes around

Passer by said...

@Anonymous
Can you explain to me if the muslim colonialists (moors in Spain, arabs in Southern Italy, Turks in the Caucasus and the Balkan Peninsula, north african slave traders who raided european shores, etc.) needed visas to come to those lands?

Edwin Greenwood said...

@Anon at 09:37,

If you want to deploy the "revenge colonization" argument, then run it through to its conclusion. If the British hadn't relinquished their colonies voluntarily (or because they couldn't afford to maintain them or because the Americans wanted to be top nation and applied financial pressure, or for whatever reason)... if the British had hung on to the bitter end like the Portuguese, say, we would eventually have been violently ejected by the colonized peoples.

You are colonizing us, and if what goes around does indeed come around, then we will be ejecting you sooner rather than later. You would be best advised to starting packing your bags now; later it will get nasty.

Anonymous said...

These people appear to be francophone. I don't think Britain colonised their countries.

Anonymous said...

"...You are colonizing us, and if what goes around does indeed come around, then we will be ejecting you sooner rather than later. You would be best advised to starting packing your bags now; later it will get nasty."

Lol! Well said!

Anonymous said...

ITS STILL WRONG AND ILLEGAL DUMB PEOPLE!

tty642@gmail.com said...

Που βρισκετε τετοιες "criminal gangs" για τα διαβατιρια - το £1,000 για hire a British passport ειναι τιποτα!

Teresa Harris said...

there has to be to stop them coming to the EU they are to soft on them if they are coming to get married in the EU the system must be made easier for people on benefits here as it stands now they cant invite some one over to get married to them so many come illegally but for those who are not invited here send them back to where thay came from even with out passport you know they come from AFRICA OR ASIA send them back there

Teresa Harris said...

WHO INVENTED VISAS AND PASSPORTS ANY WAY WE DONT NEED THEM WE NEVER NEEDED THEM YEARS AGO PEOPLE USED TO TRAVEL WHERE THEY LIKED IT TO LATE TO WORRY ABOUT THE EU NOW ITS ALREADY FULL OF FOREIGNERS SO WHATS NEW TO LITTLE TO LATE TO FIX IT NOW LIVE AND LET LIVE

Search

Loading...

Blog Archive

Powered by Blogger.

Blog Archive

Total Pageviews