Men jailed for role in smuggling
Gang members sentenced for bringing Indian immigrants into the country
A WEST Drayton man has been jailed for his part in a gang which smuggled Indians into the UK.
Fahmi Hakim, a British citizen from Iraq, living in East Road, was jailed for 11 years for his role in the illegal trade. He was part of a gang of seven who were jailed for a total of 80 years for smuggling Indian immigrants into the country.
It included another Middlesex man – 29-yearold Burhan Abdul Sheikhany, from Feltham, who also originated from Iraq – and who was jailed for 12 years.
The gang were jailed at Southwark Crown Court on Friday, September 4.
The court was told how the operation had been put together by Major Bajwa, 44, and Kuldeep Singh, 37, both Indian nationals residing in the UK. Immigrants paid around £10,000 to agents in India, with the remaining £10,000 to be paid upon arrival to the UK, police said.
Once in the UK the immigrants would be handed over to Bajwa and Singh, but the seven associates held the victims captive at a flat in Edmonton and demanded more money.
Police were alerted on November 5 last year when they received a call from a man who claimed that a number of people were being held hostage at an Edmonton address and would not be released unless a ransom of £10,000 was paid for each victim.
The Met’s Trafficking and Kidnap Unit launched an operation to locate and rescue the victims, quickly discovering that members of the criminal gang had fallen out with each other.
It also emerged Bajwa had coerced a relative into calling police in an attempt to have his co-conspirators arrested and he was subsequently arrested.
An investigation by the Trafficking and Kidnap Unit resulted in the other members of the gang being arrested. More than £80,000 in cash was seized during the course of the investigation.
The victims were referred to the Home Office.
Both Sheikhany and Hakim were sentenced for conspiracy to facilitate a breach of immigration law, possession of criminal property and five counts of false imprisonment.
officer Detective Constable Kieran Backhouse, of the Trafficking and Kidnap Unit, said afterwards: “I am very pleased with today’s sentencing which sends out a strong message that people smugglers face the full might of the law and can expect substantial jail terms.”
More members of the gang, including Bajwa, are yet to be sentenced, and police are hunting one man who absconded while the jury retired to find him guilty.
n JAILED: Burhan Abdul Sheikhany (left) and Fahmi Hakim