Seven Georgians facing forgery charges in Tonga under house arrest

Seven tourists who arrived in Tonga on Interpol reported stolen Greek passports were arrested and charged with knowingly used of forged documents after Police today found another seven Georgian passports in their possession.

They have been released under house arrest and will appear at the Nukuʻalofa Magistrate court on Monday 10, Tongan Police said.

Police believed the tourists were originally Georgians after executing a search warrant at their accommodation, the Green Lodge, in Tofoa this morning.

As Kaniva News reported yesterday  Tongan Police seized the tourists’ Greek passports on September 28 following a complaint from the Immigration New Zealand that  it had been dealing with six  clients who held Greek passports that were reported stolen or lost to Interpol. The seventh passport failed a basic passport scan.

Tupou’ahau Fungavaka, the manager of the Green Lodge told Kaniva News this afternoon Police contacted her after the arrest and asked if her lodge would still be available for the tourists.

Fungavaka was happy that the tourists had cleared off their debts this morning but unwilling to assist them further.

“Obviously we are very disappointed with them especially my husband, because we have provided everything to them, food, accommodation, water, cigarette etc without knowing that they are not Greece people. We even took them to the beach and cooked them umu and a puaka tunu, these are normal program for all Green Lodge guests, but unfortunately we didnt know that they lied to us that they are Greeks”, Fungavaka said.

If it would turn out the tourists would return to my lodge they have to pay everything in advance, she said.

This afternoon Police said an investigation code-named Operation Kingfisher which commenced on 29 September 2016 based on a referral made by the New Zealand Immigration Office investigated seven stolen Greek passport holders who arrived in Tonga on 22 September 2016.

The tourists were about to leave Tonga for Auckland on Wednesday 28.

“The Tonga Police engaged with Interpol and confirmed that these passports were reported stolen earlier this year and have been altered with false identities”, Police said.

The tourists have been charged with knowingly dealing with forged documents, a Police statement said.

“The seven accused persons are placed under house arrest and will be appearing at the Magistrate Courts on Monday 10 October 2016. The police passport task-force continues with the investigation”.


Investigation after Greek passports seized in Tonga following complaint by Immigration NZ

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