Busted: The illegals' EUR10,000 Club Class route into Ireland; MIGRANTS SELL ALL TO HELP FOOL CUSTOMS.
WEALTHY illegal immigrants are paying up to EUR10,000 for a "Club Class" route into Ireland, French cops have revealed.
The migrants from across Asia and the Middle East are selling up their homes and businesses to raise the cash to pay for the service which picks them up at their homes and flies them to Dublin where they arrive posing as tourists.
The scam was uncovered last week after French immigration police smashed a racket and arrested 10 men in a flat in Paris.
Detectives seized cash, travellers cheques and credit cards.
The gang is believed to have made EUR650,000 in nine months by successfully smuggling scores of welldressed illegal migrants as tourists into Ireland.
French police said the gang used a plush apartment near the Gare du Nord Eurostar station and organised flights to Dublin, Cork and Shannon.
Sometimes they would use flights to Ireland from Greece and its Mediterranean islands because they are not as stringently policed as those on major tourist or business routes.
Once in Ireland the immigrants would either be met by other gang members or simply disappear.
Others would head north and take ferries to Stranraer in Scotland and then travel on to London and other cities in Britain.
The "Club Class Migrants"
from Asia and non-EU countries in eastern Europe would also be given forged papers to get them past Irish immigration officials.
The EUR10,000 route is luxurious in comparison to the EUR500 to EUR1,000 spent by people willing to take their chances on lorries and trains crossing the English Channel from Calais to Dover.
The "Club-Class route" has a far higher chance of success than the "low-cost" option which most often ends in repatriation or sometimes even slow suffocation and death in a lorry.
A Paris police spokesman said: "The smugglers charge refugees for false identity papers. We believe this gang alone has helped more than 1,000 illegal immigrants reach Ireland." The arrested men have not been named but are from Iraq and Iran. They are being held in custody at a Paris police station.
The spokesman added: "All those arrested are of Middle-Eastern origin but in possession of French residency permits.
"If convicted, they face up to 10 years in prison in France and then being expelled from the country on their release from jail."
A spokesman for OCRIEST, the French Immigration and border police, said: "This gang ran a club class service for migrants who sold everything to get to Ireland.
"They were prepared to pay their life savings for a future in the West and a Club Class package was their best option. They are often waved through customs and immigration because they're not on obvious flights for illegal migrants to take." OCRIEST boss Jean-Michel Fauvergue said: "This gang was extremely well organised and not only operating on French territory." All 10 of the people smugglers are said to have confessed to in return for promises of lighter sentences..
Vigilant... Head of OCRIEST Jean-Michel Fauvergue
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|Publication:||Sunday Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||May 17, 2009|
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