Hid in oven
The Guardian – United Kingdom
Apr 28, 2004
So far the new border controls at Terespol and elsewhere appear to
work. Maj Woloch says there has been no “dramatic increase” in the
number of illegal immigrants trying to enter Poland. There have,
though, been some extraordinary attempts.
“The weirdest case we ever came across was that of an Armenian who
managed to hide in the oven of a passenger train,” says Maj
Woloch. “It was summer, so fortunately the oven wasn’t lit.”
Some immigrants don’t make it, he adds. A fisherman trying to catch
pike and bream in the Bug recently found a body instead.
The border authorities recognise that Poland will not be a point of
entry just for locals from down the road but also for thousands of
people from further east – from Vietnam, China, India and Afghanistan,
and Kurds from the north of Iraq.
Last year a customs dog discovered four Chinese immigrants in a goods
train, hidden by glass, according to Maj Woloch. Many of these
would-be immigrants pay thousands of dollars to criminal gangs.
“There are international groups that are trying to get people from
Russia into the EU. It is very profitable,” he says.
In 2003 the border guards turned back 10,314 people attempting to
enter Poland via Terespol. They also arrested 384 people already in
Poland, many of them prostitutes, who were trying to work illegally.
But with wages in Poland five or six times higher than in Belarus, it
seems inevitable that workers from the east will try to enter both
legally and illegally, while many Poles will head west.
So long as there is inequality, Maj Woloch and his men will have a
tough job on their hands.