Police in Austria uncovered a network of smugglers that, according to law enforcement officials, smuggled more than 700 people into the country. Most of them continued on to Germany, Lower Austria police spokesman Johann Baumschlager said on Saturday, November 27. Over the course of several days, 15 alleged smugglers were arrested, transporting people from Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.
According to the investigation, the smuggling operation was stopped after a convoy of 25 vehicles with 200 to 300 people moved from the Serbian-Hungarian border on November 16. Her route passed through the territory of Slovakia and the Czech Republic to Lower Austria, where the police stopped 14 vehicles. Drivers were reportedly hired in Moldova, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, offering them a monthly salary of up to € 3,000.
Of the hundreds of migrants, about a third have applied for asylum in Austria, Baumschlager said. Those who were detained said that they planned to move to Germany themselves. Another two-thirds, according to Baumschlager, probably went to that country. Since the beginning of the year, more than 330 people have been detained in Austria on suspicion of human smuggling, dpa notes.