DHA arrests fake ID criminals
Eight people from Phoenix and Chatsworth, including a 55-year-old pastor from Durban, who were allegedly part of a fraudulent identity documents, immigration visas and fake marriages syndicate, will appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court today.
Police are concerned because some members of the public were aware of the illegal activities, as one of the neighbours was reportedly offered the organisation’s services in processing his visa application. Provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Mmamonnye Ngobeni, has urged the public not to look the other way but to report organised crime.
“This is a major breakthrough for this province and the country as a whole and we want to assure the people of KZN that we are doing everything possible to curb this type of fraudulent activity. The public can also play a role by reporting such syndicates as it is evident that these criminals were operating quite freely and came into contact with ordinary citizens daily while carrying out these illegal activities,” Ngobeni said.
The two-year operation was undertaken by the members of the Hawks, Crime Intelligence and the Department of Home Affairs. After lengthy investigation the mastermind behind the operation together with his right hand woman and a pastor were arrested in Durban and Phoenix. “The suspects will be charged for theft, fraud, theft by false pretences and for contravening the immigration act”. A total of eight suspects were arrested by the police.
And hundreds of documents including passports, identity documents, cellphones and laptops were seized during the raids. The syndicate was responsible for immigration crimes affecting people of many foreign nationalities entering South Africa”, SAPS provincial spokesperson Col Jay Naicker said.
More arrests are to be expected as this investigation continues with further targets that allegedly assisted the syndicate in obtaining stolen identity documents and falsifying documents as well as those who orchestrated bogus marriages.