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People-smuggling gang sentenced to over 80 years in prison

Immigrants had paid £10,000 before leaving India and were then held hostage at a flat in England.

Source: Metropolitan Police

SEVEN MEMBERS OF an organised criminal group which smuggled Indian immigrants into the UK have been jailed for over 80 years.

Two further members of the gang will be sentenced later this year and one remains wanted after absconding while the jury was reaching a verdict of guilt against him.

44 year old Major Bajwa and 37 year old Kuldeep Singh, both Indian nationals residing in the UK, arranged for seven other associates to smuggle a number of people into the country.

Each of the immigrants has paid around £10,000 to agents in India, with a remaining £10,000 to be paid on arrival in the UK.

It was agreed that the victims would be handed over to Bajwa and Singh upon arrival in the UK however the other men held the victims captive at a flat and demanded more money.

Calls to police

In November last year police received a call from a man who claimed a number of people were being held hostage at an address in Edmonton and would not be released unless a ransom of £10,000 was paid for each victim.

An operation was launched to locate and rescue the victims and police quickly uncovered that members of the criminal gang had fallen out with one another. Bajwa coerced a relative into calling police in an attempt to have his co-conspirators arrested, but it was quickly established that Bajwa was behind the call and he was subsequently arrested.

Other members of the gang were also subsequently arrested and over £80,000 in cash was seized. The victims were referred to the Home Office.

Sentencing

Each of the seven men sentenced today were given between 10 and 12 years in prison. Bajwa is scheduled to be sentenced for conspiracy to facilitate a breach of immigration law next month and Rasoul is due to be sentenced the day after.

A warrant for Kamal’s arrest was issued after he absconded while the jury considered their verdict against him. He was found guilty of conspiracy to facilitate a breach of immigration law, possession of criminal property and five counts of false imprisonment. Kamal was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment in his absence.

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