The police in Greece discovered 41 people in a refrigerated truck. The migrants hiding in the truck are said to be mainly young men from Afghanistan, the police said. Most of them were well, seven had been taken to a hospital with respiratory problems. The truck driver, a man from Georgia, was arrested.
The police had tracked the vehicle in the morning in the north of the country on a highway towards Thessaloniki near the city of Xanthi. A second suspect of Turkish origin who was in the driver's cabin escaped and was wanted by the police, reported the local news website xanthinews.gr .
Xanthi is located in northern Greece, just a few miles from the border with Turkey. Since the signing of the EU-Turkey Agreement in 2016 and increased naval patrols in the Aegean, the region has been a favored destination for smugglers. Trafficking networks exploit the plight of many people and transport migrants from different parts of the world to Europe. The migrants often pay a lot of money to the smugglers and risk their lives in the prohibited transports.
Further arrests in the case of the dead Vietnamese refugees
The smuggling in trucks is a common but dangerous method. The hidden people threaten to suffocate or freeze. About a week ago, French authorities found eight people in a refrigerated lorry in the port of Calais. Almost two weeks ago, 39 bodies had been found in a truck-mounted refrigerated container in an industrial area east of London.
According to the police, the victims were believed to be Vietnamese citizens. In Vietnam, eight more suspects were arrested. They were suspected of being members of smuggling gangs, said Nghệ An, Nguyen Huu Cau, chief of police, according to local media.
Already last week, there had been two arrests in connection with the finding of the bodies in Vietnam. In the provinces of Nghệ An and Hà Tĩnh, from which the victims appear to have been taken by suspected relatives DNA samples and fingerprints to facilitate identification.