Hilde De Windt

Four detained in people smuggling investigation after migrants rescued from truck in Ghent

Four men have been detained as part of an investigation initiated by the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) into a crime group suspected of transporting migrants from mainland Europe into the United Kingdom in the trailers of lorries. One of those detained was arrested in the East Flemish city of Ghent.

 

The men were detained followed the discovery of 10 migrants in a lorry carrying a load of tyres near Ghent on Thursday 5 March. The migrants, believed to be two adults and eight juveniles, are thought to be from south east Asia.

The East Flemish Judicial Authorities, acting on information from the UK’s NCA, detained the driver of the vehicle a 64-year-old man from the Scottish city of Glasgow.

NCA officers then arrested three further men, two in Dover, Irish nationals aged 39 and 48, on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration. A 30-year-old man was subsequently arrested in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, on Friday 6 March.

The three suspects detained in the UK are now in custody being questioned by NCA investigators. British police also carried out searches at properties in Northern Ireland and Kent (England). At an address in Kent two suspected firearms were seized.

The Public Prosecutor Frank Demeester told  journalists that “This kind of human smuggling is very dangerous, and the operation proves once more that international cooperation works in the fight against this type of organised crime. 

“The contacts between the British NCA and Belgian Federal Judicial Police, maritime police and prosecutors have become more intense in recent years. 

“In the fight against human smuggling, the UK is obviously an important partner as being the country of destination.”