Sunday 25 September 2016

Border checks stepped up after Austria truck deaths

Published 31/08/2015 | 13:04

Trucks stand in a queue along a highway near the Austrian border in Hegyeshalom, Hungary, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh
Trucks stand in a queue along a highway near the Austrian border in Hegyeshalom, Hungary, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh
Austrian police officers accompany a man without papers to a police station at a checkpoint in the village of Nickelsdorf, Austria, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
Trucks stand in a queue along a highway near the Austrian border in Hegyeshalom, Hungary, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh
Austrian police officers speak to a man at a checkpoint in the village of Nickelsdorf, Austria, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
An Austrian police officer checks a car arriving to Austria at a checkpoint in the village of Nickelsdorf, Austria, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
Austrian police officers control cars arriving to Austria at a checkpoint in the village of Nickelsdorf, Austria, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
An Austrian police officer checks a car arriving to Austria at a checkpoint in the village of Nickelsdorf, Austria, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
An Austrian police officer checks documents of a car driver arriving to Austria at a checkpoint in the village of Nickelsdorf, Austria, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
Austrian police officers control cars arriving to Austria at a checkpoint in the village of Nickelsdorf, Austria, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
An Austrian police officer controls a car arriving to Austria at a checkpoint in the village of Nickelsdorf, Austria, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
An Austrian police officer control cars arriving to Austria at a checkpoint in the village of Nickelsdorf, Austria, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
Austrian police officers control cars arriving to Austria at a checkpoint in the village of Nickelsdorf, Austria, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

Austria has stepped up inspections at its Hungarian border after 71 migrants were found suffocated in a truck.

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The increased security measures created a 30-km (18 mile) traffic jam on the main Budapest-Vienna highway.

In addition to the tailback at the Hegyeshalom border crossing, traffic was slower than usual at other Hungary-Austria border crossings, the traffic watch firm Utinform reported.

And in Germany, the state government in Bavaria, which has all of Germany's border crossings with Austria, said it also had launched special traffic checks on roads leading to the border.

An Austrian police officer checks documents of a car driver arriving to Austria at a checkpoint in the village of Nickelsdorf, Austria, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
An Austrian police officer checks documents of a car driver arriving to Austria at a checkpoint in the village of Nickelsdorf, Austria, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

All three countries are part of the EU's Schengen zone of passport-free travel, where under normal circumstances vehicles are rarely inspected at the border anymore.

Austria's increased controls "prove that no European country is going to allow illegal migrants, including refugees, to reach its territory without control," the Hungarian government said in a statement.

About 160,000 migrants have been detained already this year in Hungary, more than triple the figure recorded in all of 2014. Many apply for asylum but quickly leave the financially strapped European Union nation for richer EU countries like Germany and Austria before their requests are decided.

In Vienna, senior police official Konrad Kogler said that since Austria began the increased checks on Sunday they have resulted in the arrest of five human traffickers and the interception of 200 migrants.

An Austrian police officer checks a car arriving to Austria at a checkpoint in the village of Nickelsdorf, Austria, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
An Austrian police officer checks a car arriving to Austria at a checkpoint in the village of Nickelsdorf, Austria, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

Hungary is building a 4m (13ft) high fence on its southern border with Serbia to try to stem the flow of migrants coming across the Balkans.

Hungarian lawmakers this week plan to discuss proposals allowing the government to deploy troops to the border and measures to increase penalties for illegal migrants and human traffickers.

Austrian police say the 71 migrants suffocated in a truck with Hungarian licence plates that was abandoned last week in Austria on the Budapest-Vienna highway. Five suspected traffickers have been detained.

Press Association

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