BIA officials on alert to apprehend Lankans using forged documents

Officials of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) have been placed on high alert to detect Sri Lankans attempting to travel overseas using forged documents.

According to the Sunday Observer, Immigration Controller Harsha Ilukpitiya revealed at least seven people have been taken in for questioning by Immigration Border Service Agents deployed undercover at the BIA last week.
Ilukpitiya said that all those apprehended were found with doctored foreign visas and passports, recruited by human traffickers in return for large fees.

Stating that several of those apprehended are from the Northern Province, Ilukpitiya said there is a larger human trafficking operation underway in the North with many victims paying as much as Rs. 5 million each to the smugglers.

He further revealed that many are opting to travel to Europe and have now sought the aerial route due to high surveillance of the Navy and Coast Guard.

Ilukpitiya also pointed out that several Sri Lankans have also opted to travel to Europe by sea after initially travelling to South East Asian countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia.

He added that well-trained Immigration Border Security personnel have been placed on high alert at the airport to apprehend those travelling overseas using illegal means.