Seventy five people have been arrested across Europe in a massive police crackdown on an alleged people-smuggling racket bringing illegal immigrants from Asia into the EU.
More than a thousand police officers took part in “Operation Baghdad” in ten countries. Two dozen people were arrested in France, along with others in Germany, Greece, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland and Britain.
The gang had changed their methods to avoid detection explained a spokesman for Belgium’s Federal prosecutor, who said:
“Scandinavian countries are renowned for their liberal policy towards fugitives and that definitely plays a part. It used to be the same for the United Kingdom. The smugglers are quick to adapt their methods to the circumstances.”
The operation targeted a network of mainly Iraqi nationals and former nationals who co-ordinated the illegal immigration of citizens from Afghanistan, China, Turkey, Bangladesh and Iraq.
Those arrested face sentences of up to ten years in prison and fines of 750,000 euros if convicted.