Three Sikh men have pleaded guilty to helping Afghan asylum seekers entered the UK under a scam involving British passports.
Daljit Kapoor, 41, Harmit Kapoor, 40, and Davinder Chawla, 42, all from West London, admitted two charges of conspiracy to help asylum seekers enter the UK illegally.
They gave the asylum seekers genuine passports with photos of Sikhs wearing turbans in the hope border guards would fail to spot the difference.
One member of the gang would travel to Paris with the passports and give them to the Afghan asylum seekers so they could get through airport security. Once in the UK, the men then retrieved the passports and reused them.
Around 30 people reportedly successfully claimed asylum in the UK after paying the men £12,000 per family to enter the UK.
Edward Aydin, speaking for the prosecution at an earlier hearing, said: “We say these three men are the facilitators in this . . . organised crime, where they are using genuine British passport holders within the Sikh community.
“It’s a Sikh conspiracy and it’s occurring because it’s very difficult for the authorities at the border control to distinguish who’s who on the passports.”
A source told The Times: “They would get the passports of their relatives and marry them up with the asylum seekers who most looked like them, obviously the beards and turbans made it easier. But it was also the women and children as well, whole families were being brought in.
“And once they are here, because they come from Afghanistan and are claiming to be persecuted by the Taliban, they can’t be sent back.
“They have been doing this for a long time, probably years, and have made a hell of a lot of money doing it, charging around £12,000 per family.
“We don’t know for how long because the way they did it is virtually undetectable, there are probably hundreds of people who have come into the country this way that his group have helped.”