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Czech police uncover large people smuggling case

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Plzen, West Prague, Feb 17 (CTK) – The 35 foreigners, including 11 children, the police found in lorries when they were illegally driven across the Czech Republic on Friday evening were moved to a detention centre for foreigners, regional police spokeswoman Veronika Hokrova told journalists on Saturday.

The detained lorry drivers and their fellow passengers are suspected of having organised and conducted illegal crossing of the national border, Hokrova said.

“The detained persons were driven by special buses to the immigration police station for further measures,” Hokrova said.

“At present, we are finding out within the EU whether the people are registered as asylum seekers in a different EU country,” she added.

“It should be found out whether they can be returned to the country in which the foreigners asked for asylum within the Dublin system and its directives,” Hokrova said.

“There is also the option of proceeding consistently with the readmission agreement with Slovakia because the lorries came to the Czech Republic from it,” she added.

The two lorries were stopped thanks to the cooperation with the German police. The police stopped the first near the town Ostrov and the second near Plzen.

The police officers arrested the drivers and their fellow passengers aged 26 to 37. The police started criminal proceedings with them.

In 2017, the immigration police detained 172 transit migrants, while there were 511 of them in 2016 and when the migrant crisis came to a head in 2015 as many as 2,294.

The dominant group of foreigners with the illegal status are those who usually entered the Czech Republic legally, but then they crossed the permitted time of their stay.

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