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People-smuggling gang is smashed.

POLICE have smashed a people-smuggling ring which brought illegal immigrants into Britain disguised as singers and dancers.

The scam saw Indians arriving unchallenged in the UK with authorities here believing they were performers heading for Asian pubs and social clubs in the West Midlands. Once inside the country the fake artistes all disappeared.

Detectives believe the gang responsible, which also sold fake and stolen British passports, has smuggled hundreds of illegal immigrants into the UK. The traffickers would obtain work permits for "performers" from Amritsar in the Punjab.

The work permits showed they would be taking part in stage acts in Wolverhampton and Birmingham.

Permits were then sent to India allowing those who had them to apply in New Delhi for entry visas.

The scam was exposed in an 18-month investigation by the National Crime Squad.

Thirteen people were arrested yesterday in raids on six addresses in the West Midlands, including Wolverhampton and West Bromwich.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 28, 2003
Words:155
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