A Syrian national has been arrested in Germany after he was caught behind the wheel of a vehicle attempting to smuggle 32 illegal immigrants into the country.
The 34-year-old’s vehicle was subjected to a routine check at the German-Austrian border crossing at Burghausen on Sunday. After refusing to comply with requests to pull over, the migrant driver attempted to flee the scene in the vehicle before stopping abruptly further up the road and running from the vehicle on foot into a nearby forest.
A German police officer chased after the suspect and apprehended him in the forest, using pepper spray on him and bringing him to the ground before handcuffing him.
However, upon leading the suspect out of the forest, the Syrian national attempted to evade the authorities once more, pulling the officer to the ground and attempting to strangle him with his bare hands.
During the struggle that ensued, the police officer managed to grab his firearm and fire a warning shot into the air, prompting the suspect to comply and lay on the ground before more officers intervened to control the situation.
A search of the seized vehicle, which had a Swedish registration plate, found 32 illegal immigrants, fake Turkish identity documents, and plastic bags filled with feces, according to German media.
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There has been a concerning rise in illegal activity on the German-Austrian border in recent weeks, evidenced by the 289 attempted illegal border crossings recorded by federal police in southeastern Upper Bavaria over the weekend.
Authorities arrested seven suspected smugglers in total after apprehending 24 Turkish nationals who had been dropped in a forest near Traunstein on Friday, and locating 23 Turkish and Syrian nationals smuggled across the border near Axdorf-Vachendorf on Saturday.
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In September, Germany saw the highest monthly number of illegal entries since 2016
Also on Friday, border officials arrested two Romanian nationals at the Walserberg checkpoint on the Austrian side, who had been attempting to smuggle 13 migrants of Turkish, Syrian, and Afghan nationality into Germany.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced earlier this month that the federal government needed to crack down on illegal immigration and called for mass deportations.
“We must finally deport in large numbers those who have no right to be in Germany,” Scholz told the Der Spiegel news website, remarks that critics have claimed are an attempt to wrestle back control of the narrative amid a dramatic rise in support for anti-immigration parties.