41 migrants found hiding in refrigerated truck in Greece

Greek police found 41 migrants hiding in a refrigerated truck during a routine check on a motorway in northern Greece on Monday (November 4), police officials said.
Some of the 41 migrants lying on the road while others remained inside the refrigerated truck during a routine police check near Xanthi city in Greece on Monday. Police arrested the driver and took him and the migrants to a nearby police station for
Some of the 41 migrants lying on the road while others remained inside the refrigerated truck during a routine police check near Xanthi city in Greece on Monday. Police arrested the driver and took him and the migrants to a nearby police station for identification. PHOTO: REUTERS

ATHENS • Greek police have found 41 migrants, mostly Afghans, hiding in a refrigerated truck in a motorway, officials said.

The discovery on Monday came more than a week after the bodies of 39 Vietnamese migrants were found in the back of a refrigerated truck near London. Two people have been charged in Britain and eight in Vietnam over the deaths.

The refrigeration system in the truck where the migrants were found in northern Greece had not been turned on, and none of the migrants was injured, though some asked for medical assistance, said a Greek police official.

Police had stopped the truck near Xanthi city for a routine check. They arrested the driver and took him and the migrants to a nearby police station for identification.

Greece is struggling with the biggest resurgence in arrivals of migrants and refugees since 2015, when more than a million people crossed into Europe from Turkey via Greece. Most of these people first reach the Greek Aegean islands close to the Turkish coast via boats, but a large number also come overland, using a river border crossing with Turkey.

Road accidents, mainly in northern Greece, involving migrants trying to cross into other countries have become more frequent in recent years.

Police have arrested dozens of people believed to be involved in human trafficking so far this year.

About 34,000 asylum seekers and refugees are being held in overcrowded camps on the Aegean islands under conditions that human rights groups have slammed as appalling.

The Greek conservative government that came to power in July has vowed to move up to 20,000 people off the islands and deport 10,000 who do not qualify for asylum by the end of next year.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2019, with the headline '41 migrants found hiding in refrigerated truck in Greece'. Print Edition | Subscribe