Indian Commonwealth Games 'imposters' detained at Brisbane airport

One man charged with people smuggling and falsifying documents after eight claim to be journalists

A group of Indian nationals has been arrested and detained as “imposters” claiming to be journalists covering the Commonwealth Games.

The Australian Border Force (ABF) said one 46-year-old man has been charged with people smuggling and falsifying documents, after the group was questioned at Brisbane airport and eight were found to be carrying fraudulent media accreditation.

The man has been remanded in custody and was due to appear before the Brisbane magistrate’s court on Thursday. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in jail.

The other eight individuals have been sent to immigration detention.

ABF said an air liaison officer (ALO) in Bangkok had flagged the group as potential non-genuine travellers as they transited on the way to Australia, and they were detained and questioned on arrival.

“Anyone wishing to enter Australia, including athletes, team officials, spectators and the media, must hold a valid visa and accreditation and must be deemed to be a legitimate visitor,” the ABF regional commander Terry Price said.

“We have a skilled network of ALOs at key overseas international airports who can identify travellers of concern and stop them travelling or, as in this case, provide real-time information to alert colleagues onshore.”

“The ABF remains highly alert to other similar attempts that may occur as we get closer to the start of the Commonwealth Games.”

The Queensland deputy police commissioner, Bob Gee, said the incident was proof that the system to stop illegal arrivals using the Commonwealth Games as cover worked.

The Commonwealth Games start on the Gold Coast on 4 April.


Helen Davidson

The GuardianTramp

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