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12 transmigrants found in refrigerated lorry in Antwerp

17:25 30/10/2019

In a situation eerily reminiscent of the 39 bodies found in a refrigerated lorry in Essex last week, police discovered 12 people in the back of the same kind of lorry today in Antwerp province.

The truck was in a parking area along the E34 at Oud-Turnhout. It was a refrigerated lorry carrying fresh produce.

It was the driver himself who called police as he suspected that people had gotten into the lorry when he wasn’t present. Police found 12 transmigrants, all of them men and all but one from Syria.

They were all in good health, according to federal police, and were taken to the Immigration Office in Brussels. While transmigrants often turn to refrigerated vehicles to cross borders because heat scanners have difficulty detecting them, doing so is dangerous, as the tragedy in Essex made clear.

The transport sector has asked for talks with new mobility minister Lydia Peeters regarding security in lorry parking lots along the motorway. Apparently it’s becoming difficult to find drivers who want to drive to the UK. “If this driver has reached England with the stowaways on board, he would have risked a fine of £2,000 per migrant,” a sector representative told VRT.

Photo: Bruno Fahy/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw