Austrian police step up checks for human traffickers; still no border controls

Migrants stand next to a car before travelling to Austria, in Budapest, Hungary, on Sept 6, 2015.
Migrants stand next to a car before travelling to Austria, in Budapest, Hungary, on Sept 6, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

VIENNA (REUTERS) - Police on Austria's eastern border with Hungary are intensifying checks on suspected human traffickers but otherwise not tightening controls on people crossing the frontier, a spokesman for police in Burgenland province said on Monday (Sept 7).

Chancellor Werner Faymann had announced on Sunday that Austria planned to phase out emergency measures allowing the unimpeded inflow of thousands of migrants from Hungary to Austria and Germany.

"There will still be no border controls. That would be against the Schengen agreement," spokesman Helmut Marban said, adding that checks to catch human smugglers "will be activated and become more visible".

The area was quiet on Monday morning after around 260 migrants crossed over from Hungary before midnight.

About 2,500 refugees are expected to arrive in Germany via Austria by early afternoon on Monday, after an estimated 20,000 came in over the weekend, a Bavarian official told reporters.

Christoph Hillenbrand, president of the government of Upper Bavaria, said three trains containing a total of 2,100 migrants were due to arrive in Germany by 2.30pm (1230 GMT) from Salzburg. Another 400 would arrive by train directly from Budapest in the morning.

It was unclear whether passengers on the Salzburg trains would disembark in Munich or continue further by train to other German states. "That is being checked at the moment," he said.