Immigrant smuggling gang smashed

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The Czech police have taken part in a multinational sweep against an international gang suspected of human smuggling. On Wednesday Czech police made 14 arrests, out of 42 Europe-wide. Along with their German and Austrian counterparts, the Czech police believe they have dealt the gang a decisive blow, at a time when the level of illegal migrants seems only likely to increase. Jan Velinger has the details:

The Czech police have taken part in a multinational sweep against an international gang suspected of human smuggling. On Wednesday Czech police made 14 arrests, out of 42 Europe-wide. Along with their German and Austrian counterparts, the Czech police believe they have dealt the gang a decisive blow, at a time when the level of illegal migrants seems only likely to increase. Jan Velinger has the details:

According to estimates, the international gang hit by police on Wednesday, was responsible for smuggling over sixty thousand migrants to Europe since 1999. The Czech Republic, which borders with Austria and Germany, has been one of the main transit centres for refugees from eastern Europe and Asia in recent years. Since January alone, some 19 000 migrants have been detained on Czech soil. I spoke with Anna Grusova, the head of the Help Centre for Refugees for the Czech Helsinki Committee, on the problems of illegal migration, and its human toll.

"The conditions they have to undergo on the journey are different, some of them are okay, some of them come in a terrible state. We have seen many of them who were injured, and who were really in a very, very bad state. And we know about cases that people come here, are left somewhere at the main railway station, and they are told that they are somewhere in Germany, and they are deprived of all the money they have but also of their travel documents. That is the other side of this world business, really, and then they are very surprised to hear that they are somewhere in the Czech Republic, that they never heard of."

According to Mrs Grusova, the numbers of those who actually apply for asylum are distorted because many migrants leave the country long before their asylum applications are processed.

The statistics are sort of misleading, because quite a great percentage, between thirty to seventy percent of the asylum seekers leave this country before the procedure is finished.