AN alleged people smuggler has been nabbed at Auckland Airport escorting three Chinese people travelling on fake passports to South America.
Immigration New Zealand staff were alerted to the group of four when an officer noticed the accents of three of them did not match their Malaysian passports and names.
After being questioned, three of the group admitted to being from China and holding fake Malaysian passports.
The trio said they had paid the fourth person, who held a real Malaysian passport, to obtain the fake documents and smuggle them into Argentina via New Zealand.
The group were not trying to come to New Zealand and were in transit.
The Chinese citizens have been returned to their homeland.
Meanwhile, the alleged people smuggler remains at Auckland Airport and is awaiting deportation to Malaysia.
Under New Zealand law he could not be prosecuted there as he and the other passengers were not trying to enter the country. Officials have, however, briefed Malaysian authorities.