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People smuggler scams migrants with fake Finnish-Russian border crossing

Four would-be migrants paid more than 10,000 euros each for what they thought was entry into the EU.

Rajavyöhyke Suomen ja Venäjän rajalla Inarissa. Kuva tämän vuoden syyskuulta.
The con-artist set up a fake Finnish-Russian border crossing that looked like the real thing. Image: Ritva Siltalahti / Lehtikuva

A man who fraudulently charged four would-be migrants more than 10,000 euros each with the promise of entry into the EU from Russia has been detained and will likely be charged by Russian authorities.

The men seeking to enter the EU were taken across a bogus border crossing erected in the woods near the Finnish-Russian border.

Last week, the con artist transported the four men along a winding route through the forests near Vyborg, Russia, by car and on foot towards the mock border post that he had set up.

At one point, the man even led the four men around a lake while carrying a rubber boat. They were eventually taken over the fake border crossing and believed that they were in Finland, although they were still in Russia.

Further charges pending

Russian authorities detained the would-be smuggler and the four would-be migrants on 28 November. On Wednesday, a St Petersburg court imposed a fine on the victims of the scam and ordered them to be deported from Russia.

Reportedly, the four men who hail from Asia, were eventually discovered by real border guards, who told them they were still in Russia.

The man who engineered the scam is reportedly also from Central Asia.

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