PORT MORESBY – The Papua New Guinea Immigration special task force has made a huge breakthrough by uncovering a syndicate involved in producing fake PNG visas.
Minister for Immigration and Border Security, Westly Nukundi, said members of the task force, acting on information, conducted surveillance at Jacksons International Airport on Sunday and apprehended a Papua New Guinean woman, who is an Australian citizen, in possession of a fake visa.
This woman had overstayed her tourist visa and, to avoid apprehension, collaborated with PNG nationals to obtain a visa to exit the country. She paid for a fake visa produced illegally in the Port Moresby suburb of Gerehu.
The fake visa was detected by Immigration officers at the airport and further checks uncovered that the serial number on the visa did not belong to her but was of an Australian.
The print on the visa labels used Microsoft Word and did not correspond with the border management system records.
When held at the airport, the woman admitted paying K5,000 to a PNG citizen who introduced her to a middle man. After three days this man delivered her visa which she picked up at the Gerehu bus stop.
Mr Nukundj said two nationals have been detained at the Boroko police station after being interrogated, arrested and charged. The investigation is continuing.
“This is the first case of illegal visas produced on the streets,” said Mr Nukundj.
“A similar case was detected in 2013 in Kathmandu, Nepal, where a group of Nepalese were promised jobs in PNG and lured into paying huge sums of money for fake PNG visas.
“These men were apprehended by Immigration officials at Jacksons and deported back to their country. However, this case is first of its kind which the special task force team has uncovered.”
Mr Nukundj said processing fake visas is a serious threat to border security and the task force and police are working to pin down members of this syndicate.