More than 40 passports were stolen from an Immigration
Service branch in New Zealand and remain missing, despite inquiries by private
investigators and police. Although one former contractor was considered a
suspect, there have been no arrests either and the service has closed the case.
The passports were from China, South Korea, Hong Kong, South Africa,
Cambodia, Russia, Malaysia and Britain.
An initial internal investigation report said that on
February 27, several clients contacted the service asking about progress on
their visa applications. There were no records of them having made applications.
The report, dated March 11, found that the passports had most likely been
stolen after they had been picked up from boxes where clients dropped off their
applications. Weaknesses in systems and infrastructure allowed the potential for
theft, it said.
Greek police last week freed 59 suspected undocumented
immigrants from various Asian countries who had been detained in an Athens house
by a trafficking gang demanding a ransom for their release.
Eleven Iraqis, described by Greek radio as members of an international
trafficking ring who smuggle people over the Turkish border into Greece and then
onto other European countries, were arrested in the operation. The 59 migrants
had been crammed into a tiny living space, had not been given water for two days
and had been tortured. The
trafficking gang had allegedly demanded a ransom of 3,000 euro from the