Vietnamese traffickers, illegal migrants arrested in Europe cannabis crackdown

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Thirty-one Vietnamese human traffickers and 66 illegal immigrants have been arrested in Hungary, France, Germany and England, Hungarian police said in a statement Friday.


A girl almost naked was found in the trunk of a Renault Espace while many boys had been suffocating in bags behind trucks. They came to work at illegal cannabis factories in Hungary and England to earn daily meals and repay the US$20,000 to people who brought them there, the statement said.


Most of the illegal Vietnamese came from Hai Phong and provinces north of Hanoi, the police said in which BBC on Saturday called Europe's "biggest crackdown on Vietnamese illegal migrants."


Around 30,000 Vietnamese people are living legally in England but the illegal Vietnamese community amounts to 35,000 people. Some 4,000-5,000 Vietnamese people are living in Hungary but many of them came on invitation by companies that don't exist, according to the Hungary National Bureau of Investigation (Nemzeti Nyomozó Iroda).


As Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are now all part of the Schengen group of countries which have no border controls between them, migrants can reach the English Channel before being asked to show documents, according to the BBC report.


Some enter Schengen countries legally on short-stay visas. Others cross illegally into Eastern Europe overland from Russia and Ukraine, the report said.


According to Hungary and England police, illegal migration to the countries is closely tied to cannabis production.


Police in England this year have discovered at least two cases of illegal cannabis production by Vietnamese people, and arrested  23.


Using special lighting to produce three crops a year, each cannabis plantation can generate profits of one million euros ($1.24 million) a year, police estimate.


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