A Turkish lorry driver has been charged, convicted, and imprisoned for trying to smuggle illegal migrants out of the United Kingdom.
36-year-old Hakan Zengin from Cigli, Turkey was caught by Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) — roughly equivalent to America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) — in the act of attempting to smuggle 17 migrants out of the country in the back of a lorry.
The British authorities have in recent years not done a particularly good job of stopping illegal aliens coming in the other direction, with migrants stowing away in lorries perhaps less prevalent than they once were, but only because they have instead taken to crossing to the country in small boats in ever-increasing numbers, safe in the knowledge that even if detected they will likely not be turned back by the French and are never turned back by the British navy, Border Force, and other agencies which operate in the English Channel.
Nevertheless, the NCA seemed pleased with its results against Zengin, which came as part of their wider Operation Symbolry efforts against HGV (heavy goods vehicle) based people-smuggling, which saw the Turk plead guilty to facilitating illegal immigration at Kingston Crown Court.
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“People smuggling crime groups need corrupt HGV drivers like Zengin to operate. They think nothing of packing people into lorry trailers, or putting them into other extremely dangerous situations,” commented Chris Hill, branch operations manager for the NCA.
“While his motivation for doing this may have been money, Zengin has found out the hard way that working with these crime groups does not pay, and he faces a life-changing jail sentence far away from home,” Hill claimed.
“I hope this conviction and sentencing sends out a message to others who would consider getting involved. It simply isn’t worth it.
“Working with our partners in the UK and overseas we are determined to do all we can to disrupt people smugglers and put corrupt drivers like Zengin behind bars,” he concluded.
However, the term handed to Zengin by the British courts is just two-and-a-half years, and as criminals serving non-life sentences in Britain are typically entitled to automatic early release on licence halfway or, more rarely, two-thirds of the way through their terms it is likely he will be out long before this.
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