3 migrants hidden in cars at Spain-Morocco border caught

This handout picture made available by the Spanish Guardia Civil on May 27, 2019 and taken in Melilla, shows a member of the Spanish Guardia Civil checking inside a compartment built behind a car dashboard where an African migrant is squeezed. Three African migrants, including a 15-year-old girl, have been found squeezed inside compartments built behind car dashboards and seats at a border crossing from Morocco into Spain. (AFP)
Updated 27 May 2019

3 migrants hidden in cars at Spain-Morocco border caught

  • Spanish police arrest three drivers, all Moroccan men aged 19-31, on suspicion of human smuggling

MADRID: Three African migrants, including one who is 15, were discovered squeezed inside compartments under car dashboards and behind seats at a border crossing from Morocco to Spain, police said Monday.

Spanish police found a 15-year-old girl and two men aged 20 and 21, Friday morning when they searched three cars at the border between Morocco and the Spanish territory of Melilla, a spokesman for the Guardia Civil police force said.

Two migrants were found crammed inside tiny spaces installed under car dashboards while a third was hidden in a compartment behind the rear seat of one vehicle, a Guardia Civil statement said.

Two of the migrants required medical attention because they showed “symptoms of asphyxia, disorientation and generalized pain in the joints due to horrible way in which they were traveling,” the statement added.

Police arrested the three drivers, all Moroccan men aged 19-31, on suspicion of human smuggling.

Border police also found a 20-year-old migrant on Friday hanging from the undercarriage of a truck at the border crossing.

Spain’s two North African enclaves, Melilla and Ceuta, have the European Union’s only land borders with Africa.

They are often used as entry points into Europe for African migrants, who usually either climb over border fences or try to swim along the coast.

Separately, Pope Francis warned Monday against a rise of intolerance and racism as far-right parties made historic gains in European elections.

“The signs of meanness we see around us heighten our fear of ‘the other,’ the unknown, the marginalized, the foreigner,” he said in a message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

“It is not just about them, but about all of us, and about the present and future of the human family.

“Migrants, especially those who are most vulnerable, help us to read the ‘signs of the times,’” he said.

Nationalist forces from Marine Le Pen in France to Matteo Salvini in Italy and Nigel Farage in Britain boasted significant gains in the EU Parliament elections which wound up on Sunday.

Salvini’s far-right League party did particularly well in Italy in centers seen as migrant “hot spots,” including a town held up by the left as a model of tolerance and integration.

Francis acknowledged the “fear” in many societies toward migrants and refugees arriving in search of protection or a better future.


Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam rules out protest concessions ahead of Beijing visit

Updated 19 min 4 sec ago

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam rules out protest concessions ahead of Beijing visit

  • In a rare lull in police-protester clashes, around 800,000 people marched peacefully through the city’s streets Sunday
  • ‘How can we completely ignore the rule of law just to fulfill the demands’

HONG KONG: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Tuesday ruled out further concessions to the city’s pro-democracy movement ahead of her weekend visit to Beijing, despite a landslide election defeat for the government and a peaceful mass march.
The movement, which marked its six-month anniversary on Monday, was initially sparked by a now-abandoned attempt to allow extraditions to mainland China but has since morphed into a popular revolt against Beijing’s rule.
In a rare lull in police-protester clashes, around 800,000 people marched peacefully through the city’s streets Sunday, urging the government to respond to their five demands — which include an independent inquiry into the police, an amnesty for those arrested, and fully free elections.
An end to violence is something the city’s pro-Beijing leadership has insisted must be a precursor to meaningful dialogue — but in her weekly press conference on Tuesday, Lam refused to accept protesters’ demands further to the extradition bill’s withdrawal.
“If a particular demand requires us to deviate from the law... I could not agree to accept those demands simply for the purpose of reaching people’s aspirations.”
Lam argued that an amnesty for those arrested — more than 6,000 people since June, 40 percent of them students — would violate the spirit of the rule of law.
“How can we completely ignore the rule of law just to fulfill the demands ... So we have no way to make the response, but we are still willing to examine the social problems reflected by this incident in hope of relieving residents’ grievance,” she added.
Lam said would give a “full account” of what has happened in the city when she goes to Beijing on Saturday for her regular duty visit, which typically involves a meeting with President Xi Jinping.
In late November, the city’s pro-democracy camp won a landslide victory in local elections, which critics described as a referendum for the movement, but Lam and her government remained unrattled.
The movement has upended the semi-autonomous Chinese hub’s reputation for stability and blanketed its streets with unprecedented scenes of political violence.
Despite a lull in clashes in the past two weeks, tension bubbled under the surface as police defused two improvised mail bombs discovered near a school and seized firearms including a pistol during overnight raids.