The Hungarian International Crimes Division of the National Investigate Office (NNI) is investigating a Hungarian woman only identified as Károlyné O.A., suspected of organizing several transports of illegal migrants across Hungary into Austria.
A member of the smuggling network, Attila E., was first detained by police on Jan. 14 on the M5 motorway linking the Serbian border with Budapest.
In the Toyota driven by the man, police found five foreign nationals, one of them in the car’s trunk. All of them declared that they were of Syrian nationality, but they had no documents to support their claim nor could they justify their presence in Hungary.
The investigation — initially led by regular police — was later taken over by the NNI. In the course of the investigation they found that during the previous two days, the driver took five groups of five or six migrants, totaling f 25 persons, from Serbia to the Austrian border.
The woman who coordinated the transports was arrested on June 16 and is currently being interrogated by the NNI.
Hungary is easternmost entry point to the European Union’s Schengen travel-free area and since the 2015 migration crisis has been one of the staunchest opponents of illegal immigration. In the summer of 2015, it built a temporary fence on its southern border with Serbia and has been petitioning the European Union to reimburse at least part of the extra border defense costs, which amounted to 408 billion forints (€1.18 billion) between the summer of 2015 and 2019.
The EU has so far only reimbursed one percent of those costs.
Meanwhile, illegal immigration attempts — except for the two months of travel bans instated at the height of the coronavirus pandemic — continue at a pace of 100 to 200 per week, with most seeking entry to Hungary from Serbia or Romania.
Just this month, police say that over 300 illegal migrants tried to cross the Hungarian border in one weekend. The European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex has warned that Europe has experienced a dramatic jump in illegal migration in May as coronavirus lockdown measures eased.
Title image: Chrysler van with 15 Afghan migrants on board detained on the M1 motorway in March 2020. (source: police.hu)