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Achenpass: Border police Kreuth tightens controls - smugglers' alternative route feared

2023-10-26T11:59:07.406Z

Highlights: Bavaria's border police warn that the Achen Pass could become an alternative route. The number of so-called large-scale smuggling operations involving at least ten migrants is increasing. East Bavaria is named as the main focus of smugglers. The controls between Piding and Burghausen are being strengthened. Some smugglers have a place under the ground under the truck, others would cram migrants into truck beds and into their vehicles. "We don't want to catch the migrants, we want to have the smugglers," emphasizes station manager Martin Messerschmidt.



Status: 26.10.2023, 13:49 PM

By: Jonas Napiletzki

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Visual inspection: Below the Achen Pass, the Kreuth border police repeatedly check vehicles entering the country. Since the main road does not have a junction before, the officials can still detect illegal border crossings here. © Stefan Schweihofer

There is still little to be seen in Kreuth of the smugglers, who are becoming more and more criminal throughout Bavaria. But the border police warn that the Achen Pass could become an alternative route.

Kreuth – When Martin Messerschmidt entered the Kreuth border police station for the first time, he pulled out his phone and took a photo out of the office window. The new station manager sent the picture to his home in Tuntenhausen, to friends and his wife. It shows the church of St. Leonhard and behind it the Hirschberg. "It's an ideal world," says the police chief inspector with a smile. But a lot has changed since he took office in March.

The number of so-called large-scale smuggling operations involving at least ten migrants is increasing. "And the smugglers are becoming more and more criminal." The 48-year-old furrows his brow and pulls a document out of the drawer. The most recent figures are listed on the paper of the Passau Directorate (see box). East Bavaria is named as the main focus of smugglers. But now that the controls between Piding and Burghausen are being strengthened, the station manager expects alternative routes. The Achen Pass and the crossing between Landl and Bayrischzell could also be part of it. There is still no measurable increase here; the migrants most recently dropped off in Holzkirchen and the smuggler apprehended in Schliersee are also rather isolated cases. "But we want to get ahead of the situation," says Messerschmidt – referring to border controls.

Station manager Martin Messerschmidt (left) wants to prevent smugglers from moving to the Achen Pass in the future. © Stefan Schweihofer

While the investigator fetches a bag and his service cap, two younger colleagues have set off in the direction of the Achen Pass. "We're already driving up so we can set up," one of them had shouted. In fact, time is short. From 14 p.m. to 17 p.m. today, they will support the Federal Police at the checkpoint and check independently. Three hours to get an idea of the situation. You can never say in advance what the result will be, says the investigator, before he parks his black civilian BMW a little away from the checkpoint. Today it is located about two kilometres below the pass.

Intensive control only in case of suspicion

It doesn't take long for the first car to catch your eye between the orange pylons. The police officers, 29 and 36, carry out a visual check to the right and left of the lane. If there is a suspicion, the trowel is used. "Hello, the Bavarian Border Police," says one of the officers. But a white Volvo with a Miesbach license plate apparently has no interest in being welcomed. The driver brakes late, accelerates briefly and only stops after an energetic "stop" by the police captain. The reason for the hurry, however, was not migrants, but her one-year-old child. The mother hadn't secured it. "I don't understand that," says Messerschmidt, shaking his head. Nevertheless, the officials leave it at a verbal warning. The main focus today is elsewhere.

A white van from Italy, which appears a few minutes later, seems much more suspicious. The vehicle is heavily loaded, it has no windows in the back. "This is exactly the kind of presentation you have often seen on the eastern Bavarian border," says Messerschmidt. His colleagues wave the Fiat into a parking bay. After a short conversation at the window, a woman gets out and opens the sliding door. The investigator gives the all-clear: "The lady is a tile dealer and has half of her exhibition in the back." After checking the documents, she is allowed to continue.

Difficult to care for after apprehension

"There is no such thing as a typical case," explains the policeman. Some smugglers have a hiding place under the ground, others would cram migrants into truck beds and put them in mortal danger through their driving behavior. "We don't want to catch the migrants, we want to have the smugglers," emphasizes the station manager. This requires ambition and time. When it gets particularly late, the boss sometimes lies down on the sofa in the ward. Messerschmidt also knows from migrant apprehensions, which he knows from his time as deputy search group leader at the Raubling border police, how challenging the work can be. "We don't want to and must not lock people up," says the investigator. "They fled for some reason, and we don't want to subject them to reprisals." However, it is impossible to provide support in offices. And so the people are first taken to the Federal Police in Rosenheim and later to an initial reception centre.

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That doesn't happen this afternoon. Around 100 vehicles and 180 people were checked by the investigators until 17 p.m. – without finding any illegal entry. But the border police will come back. A total of twelve officers are at Messerschmidt's disposal. Before the increased migratory pressure, there were checks every two weeks. Now they take place much more often, he explains on the way back. Somewhat thoughtfully, the police chief inspector looks in the direction of Hirschberg. "Yes, the ideal world still exists here to a certain extent," he says. "But you have to be honest and say that we can't be everywhere." nap

Structure and figures of the Border Police

The Bavarian Border Police, which has existed under this name since 2018, fights cross-border crime at a depth of 30 kilometres as well as on federal roads and motorways, which include drug offences, forgery of documents, motor vehicle crime, illegal entries and smuggling. The Kreuth station is affiliated with the Raubling Border Police Inspectorate, both are part of the State Police. In consultation with the Federal Police, which is responsible for border protection, the officers carry out border controls independently or are usually on the road in civilian clothes as veil investigators.

From the beginning of the year to 15 October, the Federal and Border Police together identified a total of 305 large-scale smuggling operations involving 166 smugglers and 5468,88 smuggled migrants. <> of the large-scale smuggling operations took place in the Upper Bavaria South area. Most smugglers have Turkish, Syrian, Georgian, Ukrainian or German citizenship. Most of the migrants come from Turkey, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq or Bangladesh.

Compared to the same period last year, the border police recorded a 54.2 percent increase in illegal entries, while smuggling cases more than doubled to 314 – an increase of 129.2 percent. This is a continuation of a trend. While the Bavarian investigators recorded 2021 illegal entries in 1942, there were already 2022 in 3068. By mid-October, officials had recorded 3330,<> unauthorized border crossings this year. Figures that refer only to the district of Miesbach are not broken down. In Kreuth, it is expected that the smugglers will take evasive action towards the Achen Pass. However, there has not yet been an increase here, explains station manager Martin Messerschmidt. Nap

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Source: merkur

All news articles on 2023-10-26

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