Human trafficking gang charged 20,000 euros per person
A Chinese mafia-style gang charged desperate immigrants 20,000 euros each to be smuggled into the UK, Ireland, Canada and America.
Police said their victims were mainly captured in China and members of their families were threatened unless the money was paid, half of it upfront, the other half on arrival.
Spain was used as a stopping-off point between countries and special flats were set up to hide the “human contraband” whilst their forged passports and documents were prepared. These would either arrive by personal courier or were hidden in suitcases of Chinese posing as holiday-makers.
Sometimes, the gang would use authentic paperwork if the pictures and age resembled those of the immigrant.
So far, 89 people have been arrested but investigations into the a criminal network dedi-cated to the trafficking of human beings remains open.
The gang was made up of Chinese and Pakistanis and had links with other mafia organisations in various parts of the world.
Police said the journey was usually by sea to get to Spain first where a network of safe houses was used.
From here, the gang used trains, goods lorries and ferries to get to the UK and Ireland, bypassing airports because of the checks which had been stepped up into human trafficking.
“The most dangerous part of the journey was between Turkey and Greece,” said a police spokesman.
Raids were carried out in various parts of Spain and money seized of nine denominations, together with 116 false passports and 71 telephone SIM cards.