This is how Police officers catch passengers with false documents at airport
Passengers arriving in Malta who are caught with false ID documents or expired residence permits, are detained at the airport and are sent back on the same flight they came on. From the beginning of this year, there were 195 people with foreign nationality who for some reason were not allowed to leave the airport and their plans to spend time in Malta had to be shelved.
The work of the Police from the Immigration Division at the airport is focussed both on passengers leaving Malta as well as those who have just arrived. Their greatest challenge is the movement of passengers to and from countries in the Schengen zone where there are no border controls.
Despite the fact that people who are on these flights are from airports in the Schengen zone and do not need to present documents once they arrive at Malta International Airport, border control officials together with Police officers from the Immigration Division carry out random inspections to ensure that everyone has the correct documents.
The inspections are carried out on passengers who arouse suspicion in immigration officials or on passengers about whom the Police have received a notification from a foreign immigration official to inspect their travel documents.
We followed a typical inspection on passengers who had just arrived from Turin. Some passengers with false or tampered documents were found, but that is not all. Watch the video:
“We found passports which had a page which was forged. In other words, everything was good except the bio data was wrong. We also found three people with expired residence permits and they were not allowed to enter Malta and will be sent back on the same flight later today,” explained Sgt. Anna Marie Zammit.
The border control officials scrutinise the documents carefully,
The Sergeant said that along with technology, a lot of work experience is also important to realise which passengers are not following the law. “When a person approaches you, you begin to notice a certain fear or excitement. They often use unnatural gestures and these trigger you to take them to one side and check them out properly.”
Sgt Zammit said that in many cases, the passengers who are using false documents will not know where the document came from, however they say that they would have paid a lot of money for it.
Meanwhile, in the departure lounge, passengers who are caught leaving Malta with false documents are arrested and arraigned in Court. If they are found guilty, the majority of cases are sentenced to six months in jail.