Kurds with fake Greek passports intercepted

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Three Syrian Kurds using fake Greek passports to try and travel to Europe were stopped by customs in Taiwan, reports said Saturday.
The incident was the first example of people trying to escape a war zone and using Taiwan as a transit point in an effort to reach another country, the Chinese-language China Times reported.
The three Kurds, two men and a woman, traveled from the Philippine capital Manila on a Cebu Pacific Air flight on October 31, the National Immigration Agency said. During the passport control at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, the Greek passports they held were found to be fakes.
The three reportedly admitted that during a trip through Western Asia they had bought the passports for US$15,000 (NT$457,000) a piece. They were planning to spend 10 days in Taiwan, which would allow them to use the NIA stamp in their passports to enter the European Union, reports said.
Since more than 100 countries now gave visa-free entry to citizens of Taiwan, the presence of a stamp from the country in their passports might convince EU customs officials the documents were real, reports said.
The NIA suspected that an international people smuggling ring might have set up a new route to move people from the Middle East in a roundabout way to other destinations such as Europe.
The three Kurds were put on the flight back to Manila after a report to the Taoyuan District Prosecutors Office, reports said.