Illegal Punjabi migrants found in Belgian raids (Lead)

October 19th, 2008 - 5:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Brussels, Oct 19 (IANS) Some 200 illegal immigrants from India - mostly from Punjab - have been found hidden away in safe houses around Brussels, Belgian police said Sunday.Police said it had broken up a people-smuggling ring that would smuggle illegal immigrants to Britain, adding it had arrested 15 people after a series of dawn raids on safe houses.

The Indians were said to have paid up to 20,000 Euros ($26,800) each to be taken to Britain.

The migrants, mostly from Punjab, had been brought to Belgium through Moscow, Assistant prosecutor Tim de Wolf said.

“We found 24 people crammed inside one windowless room, measuring around 12 sq m,” he said.

De Wolf, who investigated the racket for a year, said the ring was believed to be capable of smuggling thousands of people into Britain every year.

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