90 people jailed in a month for using fake documents

CMRU

A total of 90 individuals were jailed between 2 August and 5 September for being in possession of fake documents, the police said.

The police investigated and charged 120 people in that period over the use of fake documents at the Malta International Airport or the Grand Harbour. Of these, 90 individuals were jailed for anything between one month and two years.

Others were given a suspended sentence while some have been deported after they were caught working without a permit, without money to sustain themselves, or with an expired visa.

The majority of people held by the police were from Sudan, the police said in a statement on Friday morning. Others hailed from Asia or Eastern European countries including Macedonia, Serbia, Russia, Bosnia, Albania and Brazil.

Assistant Commissioner Neville Xuereb who heads the Immigration Police Section said that the it has become common for people to try and exit or enter the country as stowaways. Police are working with Transport Malta and port security officers to detect such cases.

Xuereb remarked that such offences are considered to be grave and that in the majority of cases the accused would get an effective jail term.

The police noted that the use of fake documents was widespread within other EU member states.

In the past weeks, the number of fake documents being used increased at an alarming rate, in an unexpected effect of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Frontex, in the past two weeks some 600 fake documents were intercepted around the European borders.

The police said that officers from the Immigration Section are carrying out inspections around Malta and Gozo ensuring that individuals are carrying the correct documents which are not expired.

People caught overstaying their visas or not having the right to reside in Malta are being deported.