Hungary's border fence – Photo: wikipedia

Chief security advisor: Illegal border crossings more than double in 2022

The number of illegal entrants apprehended at Hungary's border jumped to 269,254 last year from 122,239 in 2021, amounting to a daily average of 738 attempts, the prime minister's chief domestic security advisor said on Wednesday.

Hungarian authorities last year detained 1,924 people smugglers, up from 1,277 in 2021, Gyorgy Bakondi told journalists at a round-table discussion in Budapest.

The number of people smugglers kept in Hungarian prisons is 2,500 and they came from 73 countries, he said, noting that related tasks cost the central budget an extra 3 billion forints.

Border protection duties were carried out by a force of 500 armed security guards and 13,476 civil guards helped by 237 Czech, 70 Austrian, 50 Turkish and 39 Slovak police officers along the Serbian border, said Bakondi.

Border protection cost a total of 650 billion forints (EUR 1.63bn) last year, 98.5 percent of which was covered from Hungary’s central budget, he said.

Bakondi noted violence on 265 instances when migrants attacked Hungarian patrol guards along the Serbian border in which 29 troops and 12 police officers were injured.

“The number of illegal entrants is rising; Hungary is still the main route for undocumented migrants coming from the Balkans with the aid of people smugglers,” he said, adding that the migrants came mostly from Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Morocco and India.

In connection with the war in neighbouring Ukraine, Bakondi noted that a total of 1,025,667 refugees arrived in Hungary last year, 210 of whom filed for asylum. As many as 186,756 people applied for a temporary stay and another 33,182 received protected status. Hungarian authorities arranged accommodation for 13,472 refugees and Hungarian hospitals provided care to 674 people, he said.

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