Istanbul Airport police foil attempt to smuggle migrant with face covered in bandages

The police at the Istanbul Airport have exposed a smuggling gang that has been assisting migrants to cross into Europe by handing them fake passports and covering their faces with bandages to give the impression that they have recently gone through a surgery.

Police question a migrant, who had his face covered in bandages, while checking his passport at the Istanbul Airport.

Duvar English

Turkish police uncovered the operation of a migrant smuggling gang at the Istanbul Airport.

The police have discovered that the gang has been smuggling migrants out of the country under the pretext that they have recently gone through a surgery and needed to have their faces covered with bandages.

The incident came out to light when the Istanbul Airport police got suspicious of a migrant named Mohamed Al-Jamal, DHA news agency reported on May 5.

Al-Jamal came to the airport with his face covered in bandages and make-up to give the impression that he recently had a surgery. The migrant was accompanied by an Israeli gang member, who asked for help to the airport personnel to get a wheelchair for Al-Jamal.

Afterwards, the gang member accompanied Al-Jamal all the way to the passport control and handed to the police a fake passport under the name of “Mohammed Bannout.”

When the police asked Al-Jamal to lower his mask, they got suspicious and applied a facial and fingerprint analysis, which showed that the migrant's identity did not match the name on the passport.

Al-Jamal later confessed to the police that he was trying to go to Europe and had made a deal with gang members to get the fake passport.

Following this confession, the police also detained the actual Mohammed Bannout, who was also at the airport. 

Three people in question are currently in police custody and are facing charges of being involved in the smuggling scheme, DHA news agency said. 

Turkey is a major migration route, with an increasing number of illegal immigrants - many from unstable countries such as Syria and Iraq – attempting to cross the border to seek refuge in the European Union.