Funeral home ‘sold dead people’s passports’

Funeral home 'sold dead people's passports'
The passports found in the raids on Thursday. Photo: DPA
UPDATE: Police raided a funeral home and 18 other properties across Berlin on Thursday morning to crackdown on a gang suspected of selling the passports of the dead to people smugglers.

Officers said they found 50 passports at one funeral home in Neukölln. They suspect the funeral director sold the documents of dead people to people smugglers for between €2,000 and €5,000. The smugglers then sold them to refugees and immigrants.

The 49-year-old funeral director is suspected alongside three over people although no arrests have yet been made.

Alongside the German passports police also found documents from Egypt, Morocco and Lebanon.

“It’s a brand new method which we haven’t seen in Germany before,” said Frank Worm from Berlin Police.

Around 120 officers took part in the raids in an operation called Funeral. Police said 19 properties in the Neukölln, Kreuzberg and Schöneberg districts of the city, including homes and offices of funeral directors had been searched.

Prosecutors are investigating nine cases as part of the operation dating back to 2010 and the majority of the cases are linked to Syria. 

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