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February 2024

Episode: KPN 27-02-2024

Kaladan Radio February 27, 2024 1691 4

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Police bust racket that supplied fake Bangladesh passports, NIDs to Rohingya

Police have detained 23 people linked to a criminal network involved in producing counterfeit national ID cards (NIDs), birth certificates, and passports for members of Myanmar’s Rohingya ethnic group seeking refuge in Bangladesh.

Since 2019, the group has also fabricated documents for some of the country’s most notorious criminals, using fictitious names and addresses, according to the police.

The arrests were made during raids conducted on Friday and Sunday in Cox’s Bazar, Tangail, and several parts of Dhaka including Agargaon, Mohammadpur, Jatrabari, and Badda, Harunor Rashid, chief of Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Detective Branch, said at a media briefing on Monday.

“The gang has been responsible for enabling Rohingya children, women, and men from Myanmar to obtain birth certificates, national identity cards, and passports, all for substantial fees.”

Detailing the group’s modus operandi, Harunor said, “They would charge between Tk 5,000 to 12,000 to produce a birth certificate within six hours. They also provided NIDs within three days at a cost of Tk 25,000 and passports for Tk 120,000.”

The group, comprising both Rohingya and Bangladeshi intermediaries as well as members of the Ansar security force, was organised into several factions, each responsible for different aspects of the operation.

One faction of the gang was responsible for transporting Rohingyas from Cox’s Bazar, Bandarban, and Khagrachhari to Dhaka.

Another group would then create the forged documents, while a third faction handled monetary transactions at regional passport offices, arranged for photos, and collected biometric data with the aid of Ansar members.

Following investigations, multiple teams from the Detective Branch in Lalbazar conducted raids on Feb 23 across Dhaka, including Agargaon, Mohammadpur, Jatrabari, and Badda, leading to some of these arrests.

Based on information obtained during their five-day remand, further arrests of Ansar members, Rohingya, and Bangladeshi intermediaries were made in Cox’s Bazar, Tangail, and Dhaka on Sunday.

Police seized 17 passports, 13 national ID cards, five computers, three printers, 24 mobile phones, and hundreds of forged documents during the crackdown.

Harunor revealed that the gang fabricated birth certificates and NIDs using addresses from Dhaka, Narayanganj, Mymensingh, Rangpur, Shariatpur, Gopalganj, and Barisal districts, and subsequently created passports based on these documents.

Authorities discovered soft documents and delivery slips essential for creating passports on the mobile phones of the arrestees.

Analysis of these documents led to the identification of 143 passports that had been issued to Rohingya people in just the past three months. It is believed that thousands of Rohingya have received fake passports through the operation over the past few years.

Another operation carried out by the racket involved identifying individuals in villages who were unlikely to possess passports, said Harunor. Using the names and addresses of these individuals, the gang forged passports for Rohingya or notorious criminals, altering their ages as needed.

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