Dutch police intercept bus with 65 Moldovans heading to claim asylum

The bus the group were travelling in. Photo: Marechausse via Facebook
The bus the group were travelling in. Photo: Marechausse via Facebook

Border police have intercepted a bus carrying 65 Moldovan nationals, including children, who were planning to report to the refugee reception centre in Ter Apel.

All 65 have claimed asylum status and the driver and co-driver, also both Moldovan, have been arrested on human trafficking charges.

The police were alerted by asylum centre staff when they saw a group of some 20 people leave the bus and walk towards the centre. It had been parked some 500 metres away.

It is the second time within a week that a group of Moldovans have been picked up by police. Last Friday 19 people were found in a bus without proper papers and the 34-year-old driver was arrested. In August, another group of 10 were found in a minibus.

In total 204 Moldovan nationals claimed asylum in the Netherlands in October, making them the second biggest refugee group behind Syrians. So far this year, 851 have claimed asylum, almost as many as in 2018 as a whole.

‘We are keeping an eye on this and it is new that such big groups are arriving,’ border police spokesman Stan Verberkt told RTV Noord. ‘We are going to find out why they are coming to the Netherlands.’

Moldova, bordered by Romania and Ukraine, is the poorest country in Europe.

In 2016, the government scrapped the ‘leaving bonus’ payable to would-be refugees from Albanian because of fears they were abusing the system to get the payment of €200 per adult and €40 per child.

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