x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Forged passports and visas seized at Dubai airport

The customs officials who caught the smugglers were praised for their "remarkable skills in the art of suspicion”.

DUBAI // Customs officials have seized three forged passports and 25 fraudulent visas from two passengers at Dubai International Airport.

A spokesman for Dubai Customs said the visas were found on an Asian passenger after he “showed signs of worry and nervousness while talking to the officer”.

“The suspect was attempting to get the fraudulent documents into the UAE for the purpose of delivering them to other people in exchange for sums of money,” he said.

In a separate incident, customs officers found fake African passports hidden inside an “abnormally thick” book in one passenger’s belongings.

Airport authorities referred the passengers, the seized documents and investigation reports to the Office of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, located in Terminal 3.

“Smugglers often follow oblique ways to make money fast,” said Ali Al Mugahwi, director of the Dubai Customs Airport Operations Department. “They try to fool the customs officers using new deceitful methods, but the vigilance and wide know-how of our watchful inspectors prevent all such illicit traffic attempts.”

Mr Al Mugahwi went on to praise the officers’ “remarkable skills in the art of suspicion”.

Dubai customs officials educate staff about counterfeit documents, and officers are trained to detect false papers. Training courses are organised with Dubai Customs partners and external experts, the spokesman said.

Trafficking of internationally prohibited items and fraudulent documents jeopardises national security.

“Prevention of smuggling is fundamental to Dubai Customs’ strategic vision with respect to protecting community members locally and worldwide,” he said.

The authority had announced last month that it had seized more than two million banned products – worth Dh45 million – last year.

Those products included 506,000 tramadol pills and 130,000 items of endangered red sandalwood.

The airport is ranked the second busiest in the world in terms of international passengers, and annual passenger traffic increased 15.2 per cent from 2012 to 2013, to more than 66.4 million passengers per year.

newsdesk@thenational.ae