Seven died and four were injured when a van transporting illegal migrants crashed into a house in Mórahalom, in southern Hungary, late on Monday evening, the Csongrad-Csanád county police said.
The van was fleeing from police when it crashed shortly before midnight in the town on the Hungary-Serbia border, spokeswoman Szilvia Szabó said. The driver, who also sustained injuries, was arrested, she said.
Proceedings have been opened for smuggling of human beings and causing death.
The crime of smuggling is punishable by imprisonment of one to five years in the main case and up to five to fifteen years in aggravated cases. Organising or directing the offence is punishable by imprisonment for between ten and twenty years.
The car was travelling from Baja towards Szeged on the inner section of the main road 55 in Mórahalom. The accident happened near the cemetery of Mórahalom, at the intersection of Szegedi út and Mező utca.
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The car crashed into the entrance of a flower shop, and the collision also broke a large piece of the wall of the shop.
The police have closed the main road for the entire duration of the investigation and the technical rescue, and traffic is moving in the surrounding streets.
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In an interview to public television after the incident, Gyorgy Bakondi, the prime minister’s domestic security advisor, said it was a mounting problem that groups of illegal migrants were ignoring warnings given by the authorities.
Bakondi said migrant groups were become increasingly aggressive with the authorities and on occasion damaged their equipment.
Bakondi noted that
the driver had not stopped when called on to do so by law enforcement at Mórahalom, and he lost control of the vehicle at high speed, hitting a wall and overturning.
He said the incident served as a warning of the serious consequences of illegal migration. He added that it was important to stop migration at the European Union’s external borders and support countries that are the source of migration.
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