Two Pakistani nationals transporting a group of illegal immigrants were arrested by Greek police this week after a car chase in Thessaloniki.
The incident took place Tuesday afternoon when employees of the Immigration Management Department of the Directorate of Foreigners of Thessaloniki attempted to conduct a check on a vehicle that sped away to avoid the officials.
Police then engaged in a chase with the vehicle but both the driver and a passenger abandoned the truck as it was still moving, leaving it to veer into a field as the pair fled the scene on foot, Greek newspaper Proto Thema reports.
The two men who abandoned the vehicle, Pakistani nationals aged 32 and 17, were shortly arrested by police. It was discovered that six illegal immigrants from Syria were in the vehicle, none of whom had legal travel documents to stay in Greece.
In the early hours of Wednesday, another people-trafficker, aged 21, was arrested near the town of Asprovalta east of Thessaloniki. He was found transporting six illegal migrants who also lacked proper travel documents.
Investigators say the 21-year-old was not only transporting illegals but was also driving without a driving license and had counterfeit license plates on his vehicle as well.
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Illegal migration into the European Union has increased by 59 per cent in the first six months of 2021 in comparison to last year, and while numbers have declined in Greece they have increased in the nearby Balkan route.
According to the European Union border agency Frontex, the western Balkan route has seen a 92 per cent increase compared to last year, with 18,600 migrants entering the EU illegally in the first six months of 2021.
Greece’s conservative government, meanwhile, claims to have deported more migrants in the first five months of 2021 than it received, with the government stating that migrant landings on the Aegean islands have decreased 71 per cent compared to the same period in 2020.
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