Uighurs en route to Saudi Arabia detained with fake passports in Istanbul
ISTANBUL – Anadolu AgencySome 98 Uighur citizens from China’s Turkic-speaking Xinjiang region were caught with fake passports in Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport on May 17. The Uyghurs, holding fake Kyrgyz passports, were detained en route to Saudi Arabia, where they were set to perform the Umrah pilgrimage.
The passengers arrived in Istanbul from Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China, and entered Turkey after passport checks in the international arrivals terminal. The passengers then bought tickets to Northern Cyprus from the bureaus of several airline companies at the airport before passing through passport checks with their tickets.
Four people waiting in the transit hall, identified only by the initials K.T., A.S., K.A. and K.R., then gave the Uighurs fake Kyrgyz passports and pre-prepared boarding passes for Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah.
Police teams following the group detained the Uighur citizens and the four people who supplied them with the passports and boarding passes.
The four suspects waiting in the transit hall received 2,500 euros each from the Uighur citizens for the passports and $300 for the tickets, according to initial investigations.
The Uighurs were handed over to Istanbul Migration Administration officials for deportation, while the four other suspects were kept in detention.