From file: A German federal police officer stops a van to search for immigrants at the border crossing from Poland into Germany in Frankfurt an der Oder on October 28, 2021 | Photo: picture-alliance
From file: A German federal police officer stops a van to search for immigrants at the border crossing from Poland into Germany in Frankfurt an der Oder on October 28, 2021 | Photo: picture-alliance

German police have found four Afghan boys and men hiding in the loading area of a truck. The Romanian driver reportedly heard sounds and informed the police.

Germany's federal police on Sunday (February 6) said the migrants were presumably from Afghanistan and were found near the eastern German city of Gera in the state of Thuringia.

While trying to determine their identity with the help of interpreters, police realized that two of them were minors, news agency AFP reported. They were brought to a youth assistance facility, police said. The two adults, meanwhile, requested asylum.

According to the federal police, the driver was not suspected of smuggling the migrants. According to a first inspection, the Afghans had entered the loading area of the truck without damaging the lead-sealing, a metal seal meant to protect the back doors of a lorry against unauthorized opening.

Federal police further said they won "new insights about trafficking routes, paid sums and involved smugglers" from the incident.

Series of migrant smuggling cases

The discovery of the four Afghans in Germany highlights dangers migrants face while trying to reach European countries -- often with the help of ruthless smugglers, who are frequently arrested both inside and outside the EU for trying to bring migrants into western Europe in cars and trucks:

  • Late last month, seven migrants aged between 15 and 25 were found in the back of a truck in the northern German city of Bremen.
  • In early January, Hungarian police fired several gunshots at and ultimately intercepted a truck carrying about 30 hidden passengers presumed to be irregular migrants. 
  • Also last month, a Belgian court sentenced a Vietnamese man to 15 years in prison after convicting him of being the ringleader in the trafficking of 39 migrants found dead in a lorry. Their bodies were found in a truck outside London in October 2019.
  • In March 2021, Italian police found six Afghan citizens in a truck. A smuggler had allegedly hidden them in the bed of the truck without the driver's knowledge.
  • In February 2021, Slovenian police discovered 13 migrants at risk of suffocation hidden inside a truck. In the same month, Italian police arrested a total of five alleged people-smugglers in two separate cases.
  • In January 2021, German police discovered six Afghan migrants inside a Bulgarian lorry in southern Germany.
  • In October 2020, 15 men were arrested for suspected migrant smuggling in North Macedonia in two separate cases.
  • In August 2020, nearly 150 people were found squeezed into two separate trucks in North Macedonia.
  • In July 2020, a total of 567 migrants trying to transit North Macedonia without papers were detained by police. Police also arrested nine people suspected of migrant smuggling, including three Serbian nationals.

With AFP

 

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