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5 foreign suspects involved with human trafficking nabbed in Taiwan

2018/10/17 23:45:35

Photo courtesy of National Immigration Agency Border Affairs Corps

Taipei, Oct. 17 (CNA) Five foreign suspects involved with a cross-border human trafficking syndicate have been arrested by the National Immigration Agency (NIA) while attempting to board flights at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Oct. 11, according to the agency Wednesday.

After being informed by airline ground staff, the NIA's Border Affairs Corps (BAC) raised suspicions that a woman planning to travel to Paris might have carried an altered Albanian passport.

When the woman's passport was later confirmed by immigration officials to have undergone alteration, searches were expanded and two other Albanian passport holders, preparing to fly to Frankfurt and Vienna were also found to have altered passports.

The three Albanian passport holders claimed that they don't know each other but in order to reunite with their families in Europe and for a chance to earn higher wages, they each spent 4,000 Euros (US$4,612) to pay for the services of the same human trafficking syndicate, the BAC said.

Immigration officers suspected that the members of the human smuggling syndicate have not yet left Taiwan's borders, so an emergency investigation was conducted to look into flights and passenger information.

In a list of names preparing to fly to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the authorities found a man and a woman of Swedish and Turkish nationality, respectively, that are allegedly members of the human trafficking syndicate.

And just before boarding, 46-year-old Mahdi and 44-year-old Liudmila were arrested.

Mahdi, who has both Iraqi and Swedish citizenship is allegedly the mastermind of the human trafficking syndicate and has been put on alert and reported on by many countries, while Liudmila, whose original nationality is of the Republica Moldova, holds Turkish citizenship, immigration officers said.

(By Wu Jui-chi and William Yen)