Cologne official Elke H. has been in custody since October 2022. The suspicion: gang and commercial smuggling of foreigners. If convicted, she faces up to ten years in prison.
In the midst of the debate about immigration policy, a scandal broke out in the Cologne Immigration Office: Officer Elke H. was arrested in October 2022 on suspicion of smuggling in gangs and commercial smuggling of foreigners.
Means: allow foreigners to enter Germany for money. The whole thing should have started in early 2022. At that time, the Syrian Shirfan D. is said to have come to the 59-year-old’s office for the first time. He runs a hairdressing salon in Cologne himself, but accompanied a Syrian family to the appointment to translate for them.
The 32-year-old and Elke H. are said to have written to each other regularly since they first met. And even for a while via their service mail account. The Syrian then invited Elke H. to dinner. It is unknown who came up with the idea of illegally smuggling foreigners into Germany. Elke H. herself claims that it was the money that prompted her to commit the crime.
For months she issued fictional certificates, false residence permits and passports for foreigners. According to the “Bild am Sonntag” with these documents accomplices u. traveled to Turkey and handed over the documents to the buyers. The two are said to have received up to 4500 euros for the documents.
Refugees in Turkey could fly to Germany. However, they were told that they should destroy the papers before entering the country so that the whole thing cannot be traced back to Elke H. They should then ask for asylum in Germany. The police only became suspicious when an airline photographed a certificate issued in Cologne, because Elke H. had signed it. There was a first interrogation and her arrest on October 20th.
During searches, among other things 12,000 euros secured. According to investigators, Elke H. is said to have made about 26 smuggling operations possible with the false papers. She is waiting in custody for her trial, she now faces up to ten years in prison.