Asylum seekers' false claims at port

A THIRD of immigrants seeking asylum at Felixstowe this year have lied on their application forms it has been revealed.The massive scale of rising fraud was revealed at Ipswich Crown Court when a Sri Lanken national was jailed for 14 months for giving false details at Felixstowe immigration office.

A THIRD of immigrants seeking asylum at Felixstowe this year have lied on their application forms it has been revealed.

The massive scale of rising fraud was revealed at Ipswich Crown Court when a Sri Lanken national was jailed for 14 months for giving false details at Felixstowe immigration office.

Michael Crimp prosecuting said in the first eight weeks of this year 53 asylum applications were made and 18 of them were false.

The fraud came to light when fingerprints on second applications matched those given under another name on a previous occasion.


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Mr Crimp said in the last three months of 2002 7.7 per cent of asylum claims were false in the first two months of 2003 34 per cent of claims contained false details.

The court heard that on this particular occasion Kanaganathan Sanmugam entered the UK and sought asylum at Felixstowe using a false name last June.

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He was given temporary leave and £37 per week benefits while his applications was processed. However on January 28 this year he was arrested for entering the UK without leave when his application fingerprints matched those on another application submitted last May.

Sanmugam, 38, pleaded guilty to the charge. He said he came to the UK because his wife had lived here for more than two years and he had fled persecution and the threat of torture in Sri Lanka.

The court heard that Sanmugam first arrived in Britain at Heathrow Airport on May 5. He had a forged Indian passport and had flown in from Switzerland, his application was refused and he was returned to Switzerland.

Sanmugam then returned to Sri Lanka where an agency recommended that he return to the UK and claim asylum under a false name.

Judge John Devaux said: "This type of offence is becoming more frequent in this part of the country. In my judgement there is less mitigation in your case than in other cases that have become before this court this year. Prison is inevitable."

He said the maximum penalty was two years in jail.

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