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Charges brought against people smugglers who fired shots at police

Charges have been brought against an international people-smuggling ring, a member of which fired shots at Hungarian police officers with a gas pistol while escaping arrest on the M5 motorway, in central Hungary, last November, the Budapest chief prosecutor's office said on Wednesday.

The four Iraqis and a German and Turkish national operated as part of an criminal organisation in Hungary, Serbia, Germany and Norway specialised in smuggling people to western Europe, primarily to Germany, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement, adding that it sought prison sentences and their expulsion from the country.

In the early hours on November 14, police tried to stop a van on the motorway near Budapest in which two Iraqis transported 21 Syrian illegal migrants squeezed together in an unventilated compartment without windows. During a police chase the driver’s accomplice fired several shots with the gas pistol in the direction of the officers before coming to a stop, with both suspects fleeing on foot. The accomplice continued to fire in the direction of the police. Nobody was injured in the incident.

Charges against the four Iraqis include participating in a criminal organisation for financial gain, helping people to cross the state border, abusing the smuggled persons, people smuggling while armed. The German and Turkish nationals are charged with acting as accomplices, the prosecutor’s office said.

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