Police intercept lorry of asylum seekers bound for Germany
On Wednesday, police near the western Bohemian town of Cheb intercepted a tanker lorry carrying several dozen illegal immigrants from Southeast Asia towards the German border. One of the refugees was found dead, another injured. An investigation ascertained that both men sustained head injuries when they opened the back of the lorry while it was in motion and failed to see an oncoming bridge. The Czech lorry driver has been arrested and faces charges of smuggling. Daniela Lazarova has this report:
Although thousands of illegal immigrants are smuggled through the Czech Republic annually in their quest for a better life in the West, this is the first case this year in which one has died in the process. The case has drawn attention not only to the need for tighter border control but the worsening conditions in which immigrants are being smuggled to their destination. Most are determined never to return to their country of origin and undertake the risky journey over and over again to reach their "promised land".
Earlier I spoke to Dana Nemcova of the Refugee Counseling Service of the Czech Helsinki Committee to ask what will happen to this latest batch of illegal immigrants detained by the police: Obviously, there are also those who do not have relatives to pay their way and who inevitably end up turning to crime to try to scrape together enough to pay for another attempt to cross the border. And there, the mafia network makes use of their services, offering loans to be re-paid several times over in the land of their final destination. Primarily, those are the people who need to be targeted for the stream of impoverished and ailing refugees to be curbed.