Spanish police bust Chinese trafficking group smuggling people into Ireland

Spanish police conduct a search during one of the arrest operations

Police in Spain have arrested 155 people and smashed an worldwide Chinese human trafficking gang that smuggled people into Britain and Ireland.

Spanish police also raided three properties near Barcelona and arrested four people they believe are the gang leaders.

The gang charged each migrant €20,000 to bring them from China, hide them in flats around Spain, teach them some English phrases and supply them with fake passports.

The charges against those arrested include falsifying documents and membership of a criminal gang.

Officials launched the probe after Barcelona airport staff noticed a significant rise in fake identity papers used by Chinese nationals headed for Britain.

The fee included false passports and assistance in getting across borders.

The documents were forged in China, then sent to Spain via courier services. Once the papers arrived, low-priced air tickets to the United Kingdom or Ireland were then purchased, often just hours before the flight departed in order to avoid raising the suspicions of the police.

Gardaí are assisting Spanish police after they arrested 155 people and dismantled an alleged global people smuggling ring.

The other 151 arrests took place at Spanish airports, most at El Prat in Barcelona. The other arrests were made in Alicante, Ibiza, Cádiz, Málaga, Castellón, Bilbao and Asturias.

"The dismantled network was extremely hermetic, structured and hierarchical", they said.

The migrants were accompanied by guides on their flights to Ireland and the United Kingdom and were taught key phrases to help get them through immigration.

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