Law enforcement officers from Labor and Human Trafficking offices apprehended a Bangladeshi national at the Palau International Airport departing to Bangladesh with over $86,000 dollars, a different passport and two Palau work permits from two different companies. Ripoh Miah aka Ripon Shuiyan aka Ripon Bhuyan was charged on two counts of Travel Document Fraud, both felony charges,on January 21, 2020.
According to Detective Bintorio’s affidavit, a report was made by a Bangladeshi national Raju Rahum Amin of being recruited to work in Palau by Ripon Miah as a tour guide for Away Marine Company and promised $1,000 per month salary. He also was told to pay $10,000 US dollars to Miah to arrange for a visa, airline ticket and work permit to Palau.
Amin reported that his family sold their cow, their land and rice farm to facilitate the move to Palau and in March 2019, he arrived in Palau. Since then, he said, he has been staying at barracks at Topside, Koror with no job.
In addition to information from Amin, Labor Office had received reports in 2018 by Palau Ocean Divers that various people from Bangladesh and Nepal were using its name illegally to recruit fellow countrymen to Palau. Mr. Ripon Bhuiyan, one of Miah’s aliases was on the list of reported individuals.
In May of 2019, Officer Bintorio, Labor officers Naruo and Ultirak went to intercept Mr. Miah at the airport based on report that he was leaving using a different name with new passport and new Palau social security number and about $60,000 in cash.
At the airport, a Bangladeshi national meeting the description of Ripon Miah was identified. He was found with two work permits, one with name Ripon Shuiyan and another with Ripon Bhuiyan. One permit says he works for Palau Ocean Divers and another says he works for Away Marine Ent. Co.
According to the police affidavit, he admitted changing his passport because he knew he was not suppose to return to Palau for 5 years after his permit expires from his first employer.
Mr. Miah kept saying he had no money but officers found 2 coffee containers and one peanut butter jar in his bag containing $86,150.00 dollars.
Miah was arrested and charged on 2 counts of Travel Document Frauds and his passport confiscated while he awaits his trial.
In 2017, 2 Bangladeshi nationals with same last name Miah were arrested and charged for human trafficking in two separate months. There is no stated familial relationship between the three individuals other than similar last names and similar criminal allegations. (L.N. Reklai)