Refugees seen coming to Sweden in inflatable boat
An inflatable boat containing refugees has arrived in Sweden by sea, to avoid border controls, according to media reports Wednesday.
"We can confirm that the information is credible and the incident has occurred but we are investigating to judge exactly what has happened," says Sweden's chief of the border police, Patrik Engström.
A secret report seen by newspaper Dagens Nyheter said that five people had been found in an inflatable boat in Skillinge harbour in Skåne.
"What I can say is that the information comes from a non-police source which we have determined to be credible. We believe that this incident has occurred but what we are doing is investigating the circumstances to try to get more detail to judge what happened, if persons have been in danger, if a crime has been committed and if anyone can be suspected of a crime," Patrik Engström, chief of Sweden's border police, tells Radio Sweden.
Swedish Television News has spoken to fisherman Tommy Persson from Skillinge, who says he saw the boat last Monday.
"I met the rubber boat that was on its way into the harbour as I was going out. At first I thought they had been fishing cod, but that is unusual this time of the year," Persson told SVT.
To Swedish Radio's local radio station, he said that there were perhaps three, four people on board the boat.
"They can't have got over the Baltic with that boat. They must have been dropped off by a bigger ship," said Tommy Persson.
According to Patrik Engström from the border police, the last time Sweden saw something similar was in the mid-90s when there was smuggling from the Baltic Sea states to Gotland.
Patrik Engström of the border police says that they have not seen an increase in people smuggling via boats since border controls were introduced last month, but 'they are aware of the risk' and on the look out together with the coastguard.
Meanwhile, the Swedish Coastguard told media that they knew nothing of a refugee boat entering Swedish waters.
Sweden's interior minister, Anders Ygeman announced on 11 November that the government would institute temporary border checks.
"The Migration Agency is under extreme pressure," Ygeman said at the time, referring to the record number of asylum seekers coming to Sweden.
Ygeman said that the inner border controls would first be in place for ten days, but that they then can be extended for up to half a year, 20 days at a time.
The checks apply to both the Öresund bridge and to ferry traffic from Denmark and Germany.