Police authorities in the Czech Republic are reporting an increase in the number of people trying to enter the country illegally, which mirrors trends seen throughout the region, including in Hungary.
Last year, police officers in the South Moravian region seized 568 people who entered the country illegally, while it was 359 a year earlier.
“We are dealing with intensive illegal migration and border controls will continue,” said South Moravian Region Police Director Leoš Tržil.
Although the number of detained immigrants increased slightly year-on-year in 2019, it was noticeably lower than in 2015 and 2016, when Europe was facing a massive migration wave.
In 2015 alone, police officers detained nearly 2,000 people who entered the country illegally.
The police statistics also show that so-called transit migration, which means that the Czech Republic is not the final destination for apprehended migrants, slightly increased in 2019 as police detained 69 people compared to 30 people a year before.
The detainees came mainly from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
“The Czech Republic is not their final destination, they head to other countries. We have detained these migrants mostly on international trains from Vienna or Bratislava, or on the highways,” Tržil said.
In July 2019, for example, police also detained three migrants from Bangladesh. They were spotted by a truck driver who noticed them walking along the highway in the southeast of the Czech Republic.
The men, who were aged 17, 20, and 25, and hidden in a truck without the driver’s knowledge, were seeking to travel to Germany. They paid smugglers in Serbia to help them make the journey through Europe. Based on an international agreement, the police handed them over to Slovakia.
Hungary has also reported in an increase in illegal immigration and has responded by doubling troops at the border.