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Home NATIONALUnderground immigration route from Mideast via Russia to Finland uncovered
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Thu, 12 Feb, 2015 09:17:39 PM
FTimes-Xinhua Report, Feb 12

The Finnish Border Guard announced on Wednesday that it has uncovered a plan meant to open a route for smuggling people over the Finnish-Russian border.

     The Border Guard said that investigations had been completed against seven Finnish residents. The leader of the group was involved in smuggling people from the Middle East to Greece.

     Investigators have since found out the criminal organization had the ability to arrange Russian visas for the people to be transported to Finland.

     Crossing into Finland was planned to take place in sparely populated areas. The organization had charged 3,000 euros per person.

       As Southeastern European countries tighten the entry control, a new route over Russia to Finland has been planned.

     Last summer Russian border guards informed Finland that they had intercepted two groups of Iraqi nationals near the Finnish border. One of the groups had been accompanied on the Russian side by two Finnish residents of Iraqi background.

     Commenting to Xinhua, Captain Mika Keranen of the Southeastern Finnish Border Guard insisted that the border is clearly marked and subject to technical surveillance and patrolling outside official cross points.

     On the Finnish side, an exclusion zone varies from 50 metres to three km, but on the Russian side the exclusion zone is wider, he said. The border is over 1,300 km long.

     Illegal immigration is a criminal offense in Finland. However, those who have managed to enter Finnish territory have the right to apply for asylum which may or may not be granted.

       Late last year several Syrians were able to cross the border and enter Finland outside official entry points.

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