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Arrested reality TV crew in Indian court

Three members of crew shooting reality series Peking Express arrested for possessing unauthorised satellite phones.

Last updated: 11 Feb 2014 05:42
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The crew were arrested for being in possession of 22 unregistered satellite phones [AFP]

Three members of a foreign television crew have appeared in court in eastern India after being arrested for possessing unauthorised satellite phones, police have said.

The trio - from the Netherlands, Belgium and Britain - were remanded in police custody for two days, after being arrested on Saturday over the use of 22 unregistered satellite phones.

Foreigners wanting to use a satellite phone in India, a frequent target for attacks from Kashmiri, Pakistani and Maoist fighters, must declare them to immigration officials.

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The three were shooting for the European reality series Peking Express when they were arrested.

"Three people heading the foreign reality TV show crew in Chalsa were arrested and produced before a court on Sunday," Jawed Shamim, inspector general of police in the northern area of West Bengal state, told AFP news agency on Monday.

"Chief judicial magistrate of Jalpaiguri court remanded the three people in police custody for two days on Sunday," he said.

A total of 49 foreigners travelling near the border of India and Bhutan were detained and questioned on Saturday over the phones, which are considered a national security threat.

Presenter Stephane Rotenberg said Indian authorities were holding the other crew members at their hotel.

"We are stuck. There are armed guards at the hotel entrance," he said on French radio.

Peking Express is a hit reality TV show that tracks eight couples as they backpack around Asia on a shoe-string budget. It was originally shown in the Netherlands and Belgium but has since appeared in 10 countries.

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