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CRIME

Austrian caught with gun at Jamaican airport

An Austrian man has been arrested at Jamaica’s Sangster International Airport after a pistol, ammunition and several illegal weapons were found in his suitcase, according to a report on the Jamaica Observer news website.

Austrian caught with gun at Jamaican airport
Photo: Kurt Bowen

He is named as 47-year-old Thomas R., a business consultant from Vienna.

According to Sangster International Airport Police he arrived in Jamaica on October 29th, but was unable to find one of his suitcases, which he reported missing to airport officials.

His suitcase was later found by an airline agent and a routine search was carried out by customs – who found a US Army model pistol (with no firing pin), an empty magazine, one round of HP80 calibre cartridge, four knives including two daggers, one small handsaw and a pair of binoculars.

Thomas R. was arrested and charged for illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition and will appear in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate’s Court on November 5th. It’s not clear what he intended to do with the weapons.

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CRIME

Austrian people smuggler jailed over deaths of Syrians in minivan

An Austrian court on Monday sentenced a people smuggler to seven years in prison over the deaths of two Syrians who suffocated in the crammed minivan he was driving, Austria's news agency reported.

Austrian people smuggler jailed over deaths of Syrians in minivan

The bodies of the two men were discovered last October when Austrian authorities stopped and searched a van at the border with Hungary.

Thirty people in total were crammed in the vehicle, whose driver fled the scene but was later arrested in Latvia and extradited.

The 19-year-old Latvian was found guilty of people smuggling and causing fatal injuries, but was not found guilty of murder, APA reported.

READ MORE: Austrian police warn public about new ‘fake cops’ scam

He said he would accept the verdict, but the prosecution can still appeal it, APA said.

A court spokeswoman could not immediately be reached by AFP. 

Austria’s interior ministry announced in May that police had smashed a group believed to have smuggled tens of thousands of mostly Syrians, including the two found suffocated, from Hungary to Austria.

A total of 205 people suspected to be linked to the group have been arrested in central and eastern Europe, the ministry said.

Those smuggled, including children, were trying to reach western European countries, including Germany and France.

The October discovery of the dead men recalled a dire event in August 2015 when 71 people from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan suffocated in the back of an air-tight van where they had been hidden by people smugglers.

The bodies, including those of three children and a baby, were discovered in Austria but they had died while still on the other side of the border.

Almost four years later, the Hungarian courts sentenced their smugglers to life imprisonment.

The emotion aroused by that tragedy triggered a brief opening of the borders to hundreds of thousands of people wishing to reach Western Europe.

But Austria and other European countries have since fortified borders to stop people smuggling.

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