Arrests in Spain over Chinese migrant trafficking into Ireland, UK

Arrests in Spain over Chinese migrant trafficking into Ireland, UK”

Spanish police say the gang picked up the migrants in China and promised to get them to the United Kingdom or Ireland in exchange for a "flat fee" of €20,000 per person.

They have described the gang's operation as an extensive and lucrative human trafficking network.

Three properties - two in Santa Coloma de Gramanet and one in Badalona near Barcelona where the four arrests of the suspected leaders of the smuggling organisation took place - were raided as part of the operation.

Spanish authorities also revealed migrants had been taught key words in English by teacher-type "facilitators" to maximise their chances of reaching their final destination.

Spanish authorities have said that the three-year investigation was launched after an official at Barcelona airport noticed a significant rise in fake identity papers used by Chinese nationals heading for Ireland and the UK.

Arrests in Spain over Chinese migrant trafficking into Ireland, UK

The passports were made in China and sent by courier to Spain.

Investigators found that after paying the fee, victims of the trafficking ring were flown to Spain, where they were kept in apartments around Barcelona until false documents were ready for them to travel to the Republic or the UK. Once the papers arrived, low-priced air tickets to the United Kingdom or Ireland were then purchased, often just hours before the flight departed in order to avoid raising the suspicions of the police.

Most of the 155 people who were arrested were detained at airports.

The migrants were accompanied by guides on their flights to Ireland and the United Kingdom and were taught key phrases to help get them through immigration.

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