Thursday, 18 May 2017

Number of foreigners detained by police falls sharply

ČTK |
16 February 2017

Prague, Feb 16 (CTK) - The Czech police detained 5,261 foreigners with illegal stay last year, 3,302 fewer than in 2015, which was largely due to the fall in transit migration, foreigner police director Milan Majer told journalists on Thursday.

Last year, the number of refugees travelling across the Czech Republic to Western and Northern Europe during the migrant crisis that started in 2015 was much smaller, Majer said.

In 2015, the number of detained foreigners surged.

Last year, Ukrainians made up almost one-third of the detained persons, due to which they were the most populous group among them.

Majer said the statistics of caught migrants had returned before 2015.

"One of the reasons is the pact between the EU and Turkey that stopped letting refugees to Europe," Majer said.

After Ukrainians, the citizens of Russia, Kuwait and Vietnam were mostly found with illegal stay in the Czech Republic.

The Kuwaities often came to visit Czech spas and they stayed in the country even after their visas expired.

Last year, the number of the people helping foreigners with illegal stay or crossing the border fell from 168 to 56. They included 13 people smugglers, which was 105 fewer than a year ago.

The slump is also due to the smaller transit migration.

Last year, the foreigner police uncovered 1,430 false documents and other travel papers, which was 1072 fewer.

Hubert Lang, from the national centre checking documents, said the police mostly came across Romanian, Greek, Italian and Czech forged documents.

They are mainly forged by Ukrainians, Czechs and Moldovans, he added.

"Most frequently, these are total forgeries, then there are the modified ones in which a photo or the time of validity may be changed," Lang said.

There is also the dangerous European trend in which a document is genuine, but used by someone else, he added.

The head of the foreigner police risk analysis department, Vladimir Takac, said the risks for this year included a danger on the part of the citizens of Afghanistan who are now in Iran, Greece, Turkey and Macedonia, awaiting their transfer to Germany and Nordic countries.

"But the interest in Nordic countries is falling," Takac said.

According to the data available to the Czech police, some 70,000 migrants are waiting for transfer further to Europe in Greece, Macedonia and Serbia.

Other fears arise from a potential increase in the number of the refugees from Italy where the main transit route is now situated, he added.

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