Gardai smash immigration scam
Illegals destroy papers and pose as minors to be taken into HSE care
GARDAI have smashed a lucrative scam in which human traffickers were smuggling illegal immigrants into the State.
The scam involves illegals being put on flights into the country without any documentation. When they are stopped on arrival here, they claim to be minors and are put into the care of the HSE. They later disappear from the HSE hostels after lodging claims for asylum.
Officers from the Garda National Immigration Bureau have been boarding flights in an effort to deter the traffickers as part of Operation Doorstop.
A breakthrough came last month when gardai stopped a Malaysian woman after boarding a Ryanair flight that had landed at Dublin Airport from Madrid.
She was arrested as a suspected trafficker and taken into garda custody.
A Chinese couple, who had flown here without any passports or legal documentation, were refused permission to land as gardai suspected they were adults pretending to be unaccompanied minors.
However, they were later allowed to apply for asylum and remain in the country.
At Blanchardstown District Court yesterday, Chan Chee Gel (40), who has no address in this country, pleaded guilty to smuggling two people into Ireland.
She was sentenced to six months' imprisonment but 23 weeks of this were suspended.
However, it is understood that the immigration bureau is now making arrangements to deport her to Malaysia.
Detectives are satisfied that the Chinese couple had travelled to Madrid on Japanese passports but that the documents were later destroyed. They had no identity papers when the plane landed in Dublin.
This created difficulties for immigration officers in trying to establish their ages, real identities and addresses.
The arrest is the first major breakthrough in Operation Doorstep, which is investigating what immigration authorities believe is a major scam by trafficking gangs, who charge fees to illegal immigrants and then organise smuggling them into the State as unaccompanied minors without any documentation.
Gardai have suspected for some time that many of those who disappear from HSE care are being manipulated by traffickers and have noticed that a large amount of Chinese have been travelling here from Spain.