• Sunday, June 23, 2024

UK News

Asylum seeker ran people-smuggling ring from chicken shop

Migrants sail after boarding a smuggler’s boat on the beach of Gravelines, near Dunkirk, northern France on October 12, 2022, in an attempt to cross the English Channel. (Image from Getty used for representational purpose)

By: Vivek Mishra

Sathasivam Sivagankan, a refugee from Sri Lanka, who was granted asylum in the UK, managed a people-smuggling ring while employed at a chicken shop.

The 58-year-old organised illegal Channel crossings from his rented home, reported The Sun quoting the court documents.

A judge has now ordered him to be extradited to France, where he was convicted of people smuggling and sentenced to five years in prison.

The father of two had received indefinite leave to remain in Britain after fleeing the war in Sri Lanka in 2003 with his wife and sons.

Sivagankan worked part-time at Morley’s chicken shop in Brixton and was a key figure in a gang that smuggled Sri Lankans into several European countries over two years, the newspaper reported.

Sivagankan was first arrested in London in March 2022 on behalf of French authorities and a judge initially ordered his extradition in November 2022 based on accusations from France, The Sun reported.

Sivagankan contested the extradition, citing his wife’s housebound condition requiring him as her caregiver. However, a judge dismissed his claims at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Court documents described him as “an organiser within a European-wide criminal group operating in many countries.”

In January 2023, Sivagankan was sentenced in his absence by a court in France

Although the High Court dismissed the initial extradition warrant in October 2023, a new one was issued the following month based on his conviction.

According to the newspaper, following Friday’s decision, Sivagankan is on £10,000 bail, under a curfew, and must wear a tag while he awaits extradition.

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