By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News reporting from Budapest, Hungary
(Worthy News) – Hungarian police have detained the driver of a van carrying illegal migrants after it crashed in southern Hungary, killing seven people and injuring four others, Worthy News learned Wednesday.
Police said Monday’s incident happened while the driver tried to avoid a police checkpoint in the town of Mórahalom near the border with Serbia.
He lost control of the vehicle at high speed, hitting a wall and overturning, according to several authorities.
The detained Serbian driver was among four people injured in the otherwise deadly accident, according to the regional Csongrád-Csanád county police. The names and nationalities of the victims were not immediately released.
Hungary is one of the main migrant transit routes into the European Union from the Balkans and Eastern Europe.
György Bakondi, the prime minister’s domestic security advisor, said the incident showed the “mounting problem” of “illegal migrants ignoring warnings” by authorities.
Bakondi stressed in televised remarks that migrant groups were becoming “increasingly aggressive” with the authorities and, on occasion, damaged their equipment.
He noted that the driver had not stopped when called on by law enforcement at Mórahalom and lost control of the vehicle.
Pictures of the crash showed a vehicle with Serbian license plates in front of the damaged wall of a flower shop
Bakondi said the incident served as “a warning of the serious consequences of illegal migration.”
He added that it was essential to stop migration at the European Union’s external borders and support countries that are the source of migration.
The accident just before midnight on Monday was the latest crash involving people fleeing war, persecution, and poverty trying to cross into the EU illegally.
Last month, seven people were killed and eight injured in northern Greece when their vehicle crashed into a motorway toll station.
In October, Austrian police stopped a minibus that had crossed the border from Hungary carrying 30 people. Two bodies were found inside, and the driver ran off.
The smuggling route into Central and Eastern Europe is risky for those making the journey.
In 2019 a Hungarian court jailed four human traffickers for life over the deaths which occurred while hundreds of thousands of desperate people tried to enter the European Union.
Hungary has tightened asylum rules since the influx in 2015 and 2016, saying it wants to “protect Europe’s Christian heritage.”
It prompted conservative Fox News television host Tucker Carlson to broadcast from Hungary earlier this year.
He interviewed and praised the anti-migration Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and called Hungary’s border fence an example for U.S. President Joe Biden.
However, rights groups say most Muslim migrants and Christians entering Hungary are desperate people who deserve shelter.
The EU’s top court ruled in November that the country had failed to fulfill its obligations under European Union law by refusing asylum applications from anyone who had arrived in Hungary from a third country considered safe.
Scores of refugees, including Christians, were also detained for long periods in containers near the Serbian border, which have since closed, Worthy News reported earlier.
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