People-Traffickers Caught Giving Migrants Fake Covid Papers for Flights

Greek policewoman 2019
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Greek police arrested three members of a people-trafficking ring on suspicion of supplying migrants with fake coronavirus documents intended to allow them to fly to other European countries.

The three men, two Egyptian-born Greek citizens, aged 18 and 22 and a foreigner aged 20, were arrested last Sunday at Athens International Airport after a multi-day investigation. Police also took two migrants into custody as part of the operation.

According to a report from the Greek newspaper Proto Thema, the network helped migrants by providing them with travel documents needed to take flights to other European countries.

The three men were caught as they were transporting the two migrants by car to Athens International Airport, from where they intended to board a flight to another country in Europe. The smugglers had supplied the migrants with fake travel documents as well as falsified certificates indicating a negative test for coronavirus.

Following the arrest, police raided the homes of the men and seized six coronavirus tests, several of which were thought to be fake, five identification cards, two passports, €1,740 (£1,481/$2,053) and a number of electronic devices.

Despite an overall reduction in new arrivals in Greece over the last year, the issue of illegal migration and people-smuggling has remained a problem in the country.

Last week, two Pakistani people-smugglers were arrested near Thessaloniki after engaging in a car chase with Greek authorities that saw them abandon their truck in a field and attempt to run away on foot, leaving six Syrian illegals in the vehicle.

Just a day later, another people-smuggler was arrested by Greek police near Asprovalta east of Thessaloniki, where he was attempting to transport six illegal immigrants. The 21-year-old was also caught operating a vehicle without a licence and using forged licence plates.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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