23 Afghan refugees intercepted near border
During a routine police check, 23 immigrants apparently from Afghanistan were intercepted close to the Slovakian border near the town of Bruck an der Leitha.
Police intercepted a van on the A4 highway on Monday, which contained the suspected immigrants, including several children, according to police spokesman Markus Haindl, talking to the Austrian Press Association (APA).
The Afghans have applied as asylum seekers, however under the Dublin II regulation, immigrants are required to apply in the first EU country in which they arrive. That was unlikely to be Austria.
A 47-year-old Slovakian man was said to have smuggled the Afghan nationals into Austria. The suspected trafficker was arrested by police from the Nickelsdorf inspectorate, and has been taken to Korneuburg prison for questioning.
On Tuesday, the 23 Afghans were transported to the asylum seeker reception centre at Thalham for processing of their claims.
According to police, an initial operation intercepted eight people in the early hours of Monday morning, followed by another 15 people. State police have now taken over the investigation.