#Article (Archive)

This is baffling!

Jan 24, 2011, 11:08 AM

Of late, we've been seeing reports of desperate immigrants being swindled by unscrupulous elements in society. The swindlers give their victims the impression that they can provide them with visas, notably the UK and American visas, the ones which are mostly sought after.

In most cases, they get them to pay as much as sixty thousand dalasi, which is above the actual official charges.

But out of desperation to reach Europe or America, the would-be travellers seem to have no choice but to pay this huge amount of money. At the end of the drama, the agents disappear as soon as the money is handed over to them.

If the victims are lucky, they may be able to track down the swindlers, drag them to court and make them to face the full force of the law.

Unfortunately, not all of the victims have so far been successful in tracking down their swindlers, as some of the dealers just disappear into thin air and are never seen after the deal.

A case in point is a story we carried in our last Friday edition in which a desperate young man agreed to pay a whopping sum of D110,000 to a visa dealer to travel to Italy. According to the story, the victim, after agreeing with the agent to pay D110,000, made a part payment of D15,000. To his surprise, the so-called visa agent issued him an Indonesian visa which was never utilised.

But why are the victims so easily duped? There are two possible explanations: One is because they get desperate in life and want to go to the West at all cost, and another is because they are just as unscrupulous as the perpetrators of the scam.

If they don’t want to be swindled, then they should go through the right channel to obtain their visas. So long as they depend on questionable sources to get visas, they will always be victims of undesirable elements, who are just lurking around to prey on the next victim.

We believe it is high time that our courts tried not only visa dealers but also their victims, who without any doubt, would know very well that the people they are dealing with are scammers and unscrupulous individuals.

It is strange that prospective travellers seem not to learn from the bad experiences of others. Perhaps they feel that they are immune to the machinations of these fraudsters.

It looks as if the more they are exposed, the more victims they get. This is baffling!

"Wrongdoing can only be avoided if those who are not wronged feel the same indignation at it as those who are."