Gang of human smugglers busted
4 March 2004
PRAGUE – A criminal gang busted Wednesday in Germany and the Czech Republic has smuggled about 400 people across the German-Czech border since late 2002, police in Prague said Thursday.
Seven Czech suspects and three people “from a Vietnamese-Chinese milieu” were arrested during simultaneous raids, Blanka Kosinova, a spokeswoman for Czech federal police, said Thursday in Prague.
Two people were arrested in Germany as part of the joint investigation called Operation Twister, Kosinova said.
The detained face up to ten years imprisonment in the Czech Republic. The gang had earned the equivalent of nearly USD 400,000 (EUR328,000) through trafficking, she added.
Fake passports, mobile phones and cash were seized during raids of five houses in Prague and other cities allegedly used by traffickers as staging sites for their Chinese and Vietnamese customers.
Their headquarters were in Germany, she said.
The ministry for the interior in Berlin announced Wednesday that German border police had been monitoring the gang’s activities in Halle on the river Saale, eastern Germany, since July 2003.
The illegal immigrants had been recruited for menial labour in Chinese restaurants throughout Germany, sources said.
Subject: German news