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German, Danish police conduct raids regarding sham marriages

AP  |  Berlin 

More than 150 officers searched a dozen apartments and offices in a joint cross-border raid on an illegal network that focused on arranging hundreds of sham marriages.

In a separate but coordinated operation in eastern yesterday, several locations were also searched on allegations that traffickers arranged sham marriages for foreigners trying to live in without valid papers.

Police temporarily detained and questioned five German suspects in connection with the German-Danish raid, which targeted traffickers bringing people from various Asian countries to Germany, police said. Because of the ongoing investigation, police would not specify which countries the people came from.

The foreign nationals were usually matched with citizens living in to get them residency rights in Germany.

Police searched locations in the northern German cities of and Bremerhaven, on the German island of and on the Danish island of

The network may have facilitated up to 1,000 sham marriages in the last two years, said regarding the German-Danish investigation.

Police confiscated marriage documents, passports, computers, mobile phones, fake residency documents and business records.

The fake marriages were mostly carried out on the Danish island of Aeroe, known as the country's "marriage island." For 500 kroner (79 dollars) marriages can be carried out without much bureaucracy in Danish, English or German.

In the other raid in eastern Germany, more than 100 federal police searched 27 homes and offices of alleged traffickers who are accused of bringing people from and to Germany, also by arranging sham marriages for them.

Searches took place in the cities of Leipzig, and Hettstedt, but also in some cities in the west.

Authorities say the two raids were coordinated to take place the same day to avoid causing those involved to start taking more precautions.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, June 14 2018. 02:10 IST