Spanish police bust Chinese trafficking ring smuggling people into Ireland
Spanish police arrested 155 people, mostly Chinese nationals, who were attempting to traffic Chinese migrants into Ireland and the UK.
Authorities in Spain said 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.
The trafficking ring was discovered after five migrants entered a witness protection programme in exchange for supplying evidence against the illegal operation.
In a statement on Twitter, Spanish police said that the arrests included four alleged ringleaders who were detained in Barcelona.
155 detenidos que traficaban con ciudadanos chinos a quienes cobraban una "tarifa plana" de 20.000€ por pasaportes falsos y el cruce de fronteras. Los cuatro cabecillas de la red han sido detenidos en #Barcelona https://t.co/dvMcfpdtXs pic.twitter.com/fGA8FZDcZl— Policía Nacional (@policia) March 13, 2018
They said that each victim paid €20,000 for the trip and was supplied with fake passports and other documents.
It's understood that the migrants stayed in different parts of Catalonia while they waited for their fake papers to be issued.
Once the papers arrived, the organisation bought airline tickets for the migrants on the same day.