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Zim man nabbed in UK student visa scam


POLICE swoop on an address in London

By Staff Reporter

A ZIMBABWEAN man was today named as the ring leader of a massive student visa scam as police swooped on 12 addresses in one of the largest crime-busting operations ever seen in London.

Sixteen people were being questioned Wednesday after more than 120 officers took part in the dawn raids, the biggest staged so far under Scotland Yard's Operation Maxim, which targets immigration crime.

The raids were designed to bring to an end a huge immigration racket estimated to have brought more than 1,000 people to London.

The suspects - 10 men and six women - were detained on suspicion of immigration offences and money-laundering.

The officers targeted addresses in the Upper Norwood, Anerley, Mitcham and Canning Town areas of London. Also visited were two suspected bogus colleges in Tooting.

The swoops were timed to coincide with action by South African police in the port city of Durban.

Among those arrested in the London raids was a Zimbabwean-born naturalised British citizen in his 40s.

Detective Chief Inspector Steven Kupis, who led the operation, said the scam was one of the largest known to have been operating in the capital.

He said those who had been brought to the UK under the scam were mainly South African, both black and white.

He added that most had come to the UK in search of a better life but that their status in this country was now under threat.
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