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Friday, 25 October, 2002, 17:39 GMT 18:39 UK
Airport staff jailed for people smuggling
Heathrow Airport
Illegal immigrants were smuggled on to flights
Three Heathrow Airport security staff have been jailed for taking money to let unauthorised passengers on to flights.

It is thought that between them the gang made hundreds of thousands of pounds from the scheme.

It was only one leg of an operation moving illegal immigrants to Canada via Britain.

Isleworth Crown Court heard their actions jeopardised security and could have helped a terrorist board a plane.


They turned a blind eye and permitted passengers carrying bogus passports to board

David Aaronberg, prosecuting

The ringleader Anthony Krieger, 38, from Hounslow, a supervisor for a security firm handling document checks for Air Canada, was jailed for three years.

Security workers Faiz Rehman, 28, from Southall and Pritesh Baja, 22, from Wembley, were both jailed for 21 months.

David Aaronberg, prosecuting, told the court 78 people got through on false papers while the gang was working.

He said asylum seekers were supplied with a forged or stolen passport and a boarding pass.

Bogus passports

When they arrived at the departure gate it would be obvious the documentation was not correct.

The names or the photographs would not match.

"In the case of the defendants, they turned a blind eye and permitted passengers carrying bogus passports to board," he said.

Baja, a student who worked part-time, admitted helping five people slip through.

Rehman admitted eight and Krieger admitted 30.

International criminals

They were arrested after suspicions were raised about three Asian passengers on a Vancouver flight in May last year.

Two were found to be carrying Irish passports.

Passing sentence, Judge Andrew McDowall said their corruption could have been exploited by international criminals or terrorists as much as economic migrants.

A human smuggling unit has since been set up at Heathrow.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Andy Tighe
"People smuggling is now ranked alongside terrorism and drugs as a category A threat"

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