NBI: “Professional gang” smuggled Iraqi nationals for thousands of euros
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said Wednesday that they have detained four people in connection with arranging the illegal entry of nearly 90 Iraqi nationals across the Finnish border. The Iraqi migrants allegedly paid the international gang up to 7,000 euros each in order to reach Finland.
The smuggling is believed to have taken place via Tornio on the Finnish-Swedish frontier.Image: Paula Hiljanen / Yle
The Oulu office of Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is probing an international organisation which allegedly helped to smuggle Iraqi migrants into Finland. The gang is suspected of illegally bringing at least 87 Iraqis into the country by way of Turkey, Greece and Germany in 2015.
According to the NBI, the organisation tried to convince Iraqis to travel to Finland – at a cost of up to 7,000 euros per person – by providing temporary living quarters in Turkey and Greece and organising boat transport from the Turkish coast to Greece.
The NBI also alleges that the international gang set the migrants up with travel arrangements from various parts of Europe into Finland, via the northern town of Tornio on the Swedish-Finnish border.
Some stretches of the long journey from Iraq to Finland were sometimes very dangerous for the migrants, particularly the Mediterranean Sea route from Turkey to Greece, according to the NBI.
The NBI says it is aware of one incident in which a boat overloaded with migrants on one of those sea journeys capsized, resulting in the death of a 19-month-old child.
The smuggling gang also allegedly threatened the Iraqi migrants with violence. Many of the migrants were forced to surrender their passports until they paid for their return.