Indian human cargo deported
Eight famished and frightened Indian illegal immigrants, container-bound from Belgium to a port in Britain, drifted all the way for three days to the Swedish west coast port of Gothenburg before being deported to Belgium on Thursday.
"While the cargo ship was being unloaded, distressful noises emanated from one of the containers," Swedish border police inspector in Gothenburg, Hans Borjesson, told media.
"When the container was opened, eight very frightened, hungry and thirsty Indians stumbled out. All of them were, indeed, in a very sorry, disheveled condition".
"From what we understood, they had paid their ´agent´ a lot of money to smuggle them into England," said Borjesson. "Apparently, arrangements fouled up and they found themselves in Sweden instead."
The fees paid allegedly amounted to 5,000 pounds per head. For this amount, the group was first smuggled out from India to Italy and then via France to Belgium, media learnt from a Swedish immigration source who did not wish to be identified.
According to the same source, after a wait in Belgium for some weeks, they were locked up in a container and informed that they would be unloaded in England - port unknown to Swedish police - in a few hours. Instead, after two nights and three days at sea they turned up in Gothenburg.
"Aged between 20 and 40, the Indians could hardly speak a word of English, leave alone Swedish," the source said.
While the Swedish police sought to investigate the circumstances of the human smuggling, whose pattern "is becoming all too familiar", the Indians were transferred to police custody in Stockholm, the Swedish capital on the west coast.
Border police commissioner Peter Konberg who handled the investigation from Stockholm told media," It was very frustrating to deal with these involuntary visitors to Sweden. Besides the language barrier, all the eight lacked any sort of identifying document, no passport, nothing."
"We were left with the only alternative to deport them to the country from which they had embarked on the ship," said Peter Konberg. "We have deported them on Friday to Belgium."
Counsellor at the Indian embassy in Stockholm, Ragunath Mishra, told medi, "We have no information whatsoever about this case. Neither the Swedish foreign office nor the immigration nor police authorities have seen fit to inform us. I learnt about the case from newspapers and wrote the foreign office a letter requesting information. To date we have received none."
Mishra explained further: "In such cases the Swedish police and other concerned authorities follow the practice that only if the persons in custody desire to contact the respective embassy they should help them do so. Not of their own volition."
Meanwhile, three illegal immigrants from India, who managed to sneak their way into Britain past border controls in a German delivery lorry, have been arrested in Southampton after they were caught escaping.
When challenged, the men, aged 24, 22 and 21 could not prove their identities or speak English, a police spokesperson said. They are being held in cells at Southampton Central Police Station.
Said Stephen Carter of the Home Office, "We are able to confirm that three Indian nationals are being interviewed by immigration staff today. It's not easy to say what will happen next.
"We use heat-seeking and heartbeat-tracking technology to prevent this sort of thing happening, but every now and then people will penetrate our borders unlawfully."
Despite concerns from India and the US about its alleged spying activities, Chinese vessel Yuan Wang 5 bristling with antennas and communication gear docked at Sri Lanka's Chinese-run port of Hambantota on Tuesday. Responding to the latest development, China, without mentioning India or the US, said its scientific research activities are in accordance with international law and should not be interfered with by "third parties”.
Thirteen German military aircraft were on their way to Australia on Tuesday as Germany looks to strengthen its presence in the Indo-Pacific region amid growing tensions with China. The six Eurofighters and seven military transport aircraft were due to land in Singapore on Tuesday before travelling on to Australia under the mission dubbed Rapid Pacific 2022.
The policy guidelines issued by the National Health Commission Tuesday urge both the central and provincial governments to increase spending on reproductive health and improve childcare services nationwide.
The Chinese satellite and intercontinental ballistic missile tracker strategic support ship Yuan Wang 5 under the guise of Marine Scientific Research Vessel was allowed by the Sri Lankan government to dock at Hambantota Port, leased to Beijing for 99 years, at 4.00 am this morning. This ship will be at the Chinese port till August 21.
At least 20 people were burnt alive in a collision between a passenger bus and an oil tanker in Pakistan's Punjab province on Tuesday, rescue officials said, the second major road accident in the province in three days. The accident occurred on a motorway in Multan, some 350 kms from Lahore, reportedly because of overspeeding, police said. Traffic remained suspended on the motorway for several hours after the accident.