Greece arrests 5 border police on suspicion of working with smugglers: report 

A police car patrols along a steel fence along Evros river, Greece's river border with Turkey, near the village of Poros on June 8, 2021. - The area is where the Greek State has chosen to deploy a new anti-migration arsenal including cameras, radar and a 40-kilometre (25-mile) steel fence over five metres high. (Photo by Sakis MITROLIDIS / AFP)

Greece has arrested five police officers from a special border guard force on suspicion of working with smugglers to help migrants cross into the country from Turkey, The Associated Press (AP) reported, citing the official statement from the Greek police.

Five suspects are believed to have facilitated the entry of at least 100 people since late October, using boats to cross the Evros River that runs along the northeastern Greek land border with Turkey, The AP said.

Greece is a major entry point to the EU for Asians and Africans fleeing conflict or poverty, who mostly leave Turkey in unseaworthy boats. Stronger patrols by Greek authorities, assisted by the EU border agency, have restricted flows in recent years after nearly a million people made the journey in 2015.

Both Greece and Turkey have substantial populations of refugees and migrants.

In December four Turkish nationals were arrested on suspicion of smuggling migrants after a boat with nearly 100 people on board was found in trouble off an island near Athens.

Last year Italian, Albanian and Greek police in a joint operation arrested 30 people accused of profiteering several hundred million euros to smuggle refugees and migrants into European countries from Turkey on yachts and other leisure boats.

The Greek government is planning to proceed with the expansion of a fence by 35 kilometers along its northern border with Turkey to deter refugees.

Greece has already built a 40-kilometer (25 mile) fence near the Evros River on the border with Turkey to prevent illegal migrants from entering the country, and a decision to extend the fence along the entire border with Turkey was reached last August.

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