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16 Rohingyas with fake passports held at Bangladesh airport
Publication Date : 30-08-2012
Law enforcers yesterday arrested 16 Rohingya refugees from Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka while they were trying to go abroad with fake Bangladeshi passports.
With this, the law enforcers have arrested 38 Rohingyas this month alone. They were all trying to go abroad with machine readable as well as forged Bangladeshi passports.
Yesterday, the law enforcers also arrested seven Bangladesh nationals who were trying to depart Shahjalal airport with fake travel documents.
They also arrested five other Bangladesh nationals in connection with helping the about to depart Rohingyas and the Bangladesh nationals.
Foreign currencies worth about 2.62 million taka (US$32,199) were recovered from Md Nowab Khan, 47, one of the arrestees thought to be a broker.
Following a tip-off, police early yesterday were waiting for the Rohingyas at the departure Gate-1 and -3 of the airport.
However, they actually made three arrests from the car park of the airport and following information gleaned from them, arrested the others.
During primary interrogation, the detained Rohingyas said they came to Bangladesh from Myanmar and tried to go to Cambodia and Malaysia.
The arrestees were later handed over to Airport Police Station. A case was filed in this connection.
Atiqur Rahman, senior assistant sub-inspector of Airport Armed Police Battalion, said the trend of Rohingyas going abroad with Bangladeshi passport was increasing.
“We are arresting Rohingyas regularly which was not usual in the past. We have strengthened our intelligence activities as the Rohingyas are engaging in crimes after going abroad with Bangladeshi passports,” he added.
On August 11, the Airport Armed Police Battalion arrested seven Rohingyas with Bangladeshi passports, all trying to depart through the airport.
One of them had somehow managed a machine-readable passport, while others had forged travel documents recently stolen from a Dhaka passport office, police said.
Detectives on August 2, raided a residential hotel in Fakirerpool in the capital and arrested nine Rohingyas in connection with their illegal stay in the country and criminal efforts to get Bangladeshi passports to fly to the Middle East.
On August 11 and 15, the Airport Armed Police Battalion arrested five more Rohingyas while they were trying to depart with fake Bangladeshi passports.
On September 11 last year, police at the airport arrested six Rohingyas along with a Bangladeshi trying to board a flight to Saudi Arabia. The group was carrying forged Bangladeshi passports.
The Rohingyas are not entitled to Bangladeshi passports as they have refugee status.
There are around 30,000 registered Rohingya refugees at two camps in Teknaf in Cox's Bazar. But about half a million Rohingyas live in Cox's Bazar and other areas of the Chittagong region without documents.
The Rohingyas are a Muslim people who live in the Arakan region of western Myanmar. Around 800,000 Rohingya live in Myanmar.
According to the UN, they are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. Many Rohingyas have fled Myanmar to the refugee camps in Bangladesh.
In June, several hundred Rohingyas fled sectarian violence in Myanmar and attempted to enter Bangladesh through the bordering area of Cox's Bazar.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Arabian authorities arrested around 700 Rohingyas who had made their way into that country with Bangladeshi travel documents. The Saudis are now pressing Bangladesh to take them back, sources said.
Immigration and foreign ministry officials claimed that once abroad, many Rohingyas commit crimes tarnishing the image of Bangladesh.
Last month, the foreign ministry asked the deputy commissioners, especially of Cox's Bazar and Bandarban, to take steps to ensure that no Rohingya gets a Bangladeshi passport.