Tuesday, 22. July 2014
15. 05. 14. - 16:00
German police have smashed a people smuggling gang centred on Islamic funeral parlours who had been gathering passports from the dead and then handing them out to people who looked similar so that they could gain access to the country.
Police said they had staged a dawn raid on more than 26 properties in various parts of the German capital and had ceased suitcases filled with passports which were set to be used to smuggle people back into the country.
Police have already identified one case in which a man from Syria managed to get into Germany using the passport of a person who had died and his passport had been taken and sent out of the country illegally.
The funeral parlour directors face charges of people smuggling using the similarity principle which involves matching each passport with somebody who wants to enter Germany and look similar to the dead person.
Many of the passports were for older people but some also involved younger people who have died and was passports and ended up in the hands of the funeral directors. The
Islamic funeral directors are accused of being connected to a band of organised people traffickers and simply handed the passports over as they collected them in exchange for cash.
An insider said: "It seems to the massive operation and we are also investigating whether extremists might have been smuggled in using the genuine passports."
More than 80 police officers were involved in the searches and as well as the passports computers were also seized which are now being examined by experts.
The officers added that there had been no arrests as a result of the raids and that the aim had been simply to gather evidence and secure it.
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