‘Immigration gang’ in court

2014-12-02 00:00

EIGHT members of a suspected illegal ­immigration ring appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court yesterday, with all but one man released on bail.

Jaffa Abbas Syed (49), understood to be the syndicates ringleader, was remanded in custody until the gang’s pending next appearance in court.

The rest of the accused — Annamally Pillay (61), Ayesha Bibi Razak (48), Khatija Bibi Murtaz (34), Rochelle Mohanlall (33), Thabisile Majola (35), Yvonne Moodley (41) and Josephine Chetty (23) — were

either released on bail or on a warning.

The ring was netted in a swoop by ­members of the Hawks, Crime Intelligence Unit and Department of Home Affairs in Phoenix on Friday night.

According to police spokesperson ­Colonel Jay Naicker, the eight had allegedly been responsible for smuggling illegal ­immigrants into South Africa using ­falsified travel documents. “After a lengthy ­investigation the mastermind behind the operation and a pastor were arrested in Durban and Phoenix. Further targets that assisted the syndicate in obtaining stolen identity documents and falsifying ­documents as well as those who orchestrated bogus ­marriages were arrested in a ­well co-ordinated operation,” he said.

They are expected to be charged with cases of theft, fraud, theft by false pretences and for contravening the immigration act. Naicker added that more arrests were expected as the intelligence driven ­investigation wore on. The suspects will appear in court again on December 8.

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