The operation was being tracked for three months before authorities made the arrests. Image for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: Pixabay

Dubai: The suspects behind an illegal immigration operation who were arrested in Dubai, were apprehended within a week of a three-month-long “search and follow-up” period by authorities, officials have revealed.

The details come after announcement, on December 19, made by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA Dubai), who arrested the international criminal group, comprising individuals from various nationalities.

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Forged documents

Additional information shared by GDRFA Dubai notes that the group used to issue forged documents for the illegal immigration operation. The destinations of the holders of these forged documents were “certain European countries”.

GDRFA Dubai pointed out it has advanced technology to “discover any forged documents”. The Department is now in the process of counting the number of the forged documents issued by the gang members.

How did the gang work?

The ‘immigrants’ came from their home country to Dubai airport, where the gang members handed them the forged passport and visa in the transit area, for onwards travel to destinations in Europe. The perpetrators took “huge amounts” of money from the holders of the fraudulent papers.

The authorities caught them red-handed when they were exchanging the fake documents.

‘Closely watched’

Explaining how the criminal group was detected, the Department said it used “data analysis and search operations”, through which the Department identified several suspects, and through the “process of follow-up and anticipation”, the illegal network was discovered.

“Continuous field surveillance identified the individual responsible for the network’s logistical operations within the country. From the moment these individuals checked into their hotels up to their departure and time at the airport, every step was closely watched. This scrutiny revealed their engagement in suspicious activities linked to executing illegal immigration operations, ultimately leading to their arrest and referral to the judiciary,” GDRFA Dubai stated.

Who are the suspects?

The members of the criminal network are “several people of various nationalities”, who intended to make the UAE their centre of operation. “But they were surprised by the vigilance of the authorities,” the Department said.

Shedding more light on the nature of the network, GDRFA Dubai said the members of the criminal group worked in “an organised manner under a functional hierarchy”. They used to communicate with victims on social media platforms.

Advice for community members

The Department urged all members of society, whether residents or citizens, to contribute to protecting the security of the UAE by reporting any information about suspicious activities that may affect the security of the country to the competent authorities through the Al Ameen service (800444); on ‘04’ platform on the website 04.gov.ae; or the 24/7 toll-free call center on 8005111