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By Avinesh Gopal

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Sun, Feb. 15) – A Ghanaian detained by the Fiji Immigration Department has once again escaped from custody and is on the run.

The illegal immigrant first ran away on February 2 from a hotel in Nadi with two fellow Ghanaian nationals who were detained with him.

[PIR editor’s note: Nadi is located on the southwest coast of Viti Levu island in Fiji.]

But the three men were caught in Suva a few days later by police and immigration officers and returned to Nadi to await deportation. They were kept at a motel at Martintar in Nadi.

While immigration officers were making arrangements for their deportation, the three men made a dash for freedom again at 5 a.m. on Monday. Western Divisional Police Commander Superintendent Emori Laqai said the trio ran away from the motel.

"But a 28-year-old and a 25-year-old man were arrested in Nadi Town shortly after they ran away," he said. "One of them is still on the run and a search is being carried out to locate him."

Superintendent Laqai was not in a position to say whether the three Ghanaians were being guarded or not when they escaped. When they were first arrested, immigration officials failed to keep them under guard.

The three men arrived in the country from Seoul, Korea, late last month with fake passports. Immigration officers at Nadi International Airport detected the fake passports when screening passengers arriving on that flight.

Some immigration officers, who did not want to be named for fear of victimization, said security for the three should have been tightened. He said this was not the first time that foreigners had entered the country with fake traveling documents.

The officer said Fiji was now becoming a transit point for illegal immigrants heading for other countries.

"Considering the cases in the past, immigration officers have to be vigilant when screening people coming in," he said.

February 16, 2006


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