A Pakistani man arrested earlier this month has been found guilty of illegally facilitating immigrants and sentenced to four months in Her Majesty’s Prison in Dhekelia after he pleaded guilty to his charges on October 24.
The man, who lives in Nicosia, was arrested after a police investigation, which began on September 26, led to officers issuing a warrant for his arrest before he handed himself in at the Dhekelia Police Station.
Divisional Commander for the Eastern Sovereign Base Area Police, Superintendent Andreas Pitsillides, said the arrest and subsequent conviction of the man came as a result of some instinctive police work and a successful investigation.
Explaining how the arrest came about, he said: “On the evening of September 26, one of our routine police patrols along the Larnaca to Famagusta road, between the Avgorou T-junction and the Achna roundabout, arrested two males whom they believed were acting suspiciously and were believed to be involved in facilitating immigrants into the SBAs from the Turkish Controlled Areas.
“Following the arrest of the two men, our officers were able to launch their investigation and after examining the evidence, looking at the use of mobile phones and various other things, we were able to link the now convicted man with illegal facilitation.”
Reflecting on the case and the successful prosecution, the Divisional Commander said this case was yet more evidence that the outstanding work being conducting on and close to the crossing points, is proving to be a success.
He said: “We as a police force take illegal facilitation very seriously and we have been dedicating an extensive amount of man hours to combating this type of crime. We believe this arrest is part of a larger network and it sends out a strong warning to those that are looking to undertake this activity.
“The SBA Police, alongside our partners within SBA Customs, have been conducting joint patrols along the boundaries and we have an outstanding working relationship and that is reaping great rewards now.
“This arrest, remember, came from a routine patrol but our officers know what to look out for. The incident unfolded after the police officers noticed an unattended vehicle registered to a Pakistani male in the area and believed it was suspicious. It was that police instinct that led to this positive result.”
Due to the weight of evidence against the man, it was no surprise that he pleaded guilty at the SBA Court in in Dhekelia and he is now not expected to be released until he has served his sentence on January 30 next year.
Another man, from Bangladesh, was also arrested on September 26 on charges of being a prohibited immigrant and he has since been handed over to the appropriate authorities.
Superintendent Pitsillides went on: “We have an excellent process in place for a situation like this and it gives me great confidence moving forward that we will continue to detect and catch the perpetrators of this type of crime.
“Illegal facilitation is extremely serious and we as a police force will remain dedicated to doing everything we can to combat this crime. Working alongside our partners in Customs and with the full support of the Sovereign Base Area Administration, we will continue with our round-the-clock patrols to ensure that everyone respects the law and uses the appropriate channels to cross into the SBAs.”