Taxi drivers risk being charged with people smuggling
Swedish taxi drivers who carry refugees from Denmark to Sweden across the Öresund bridge risk being charged with people smuggling.
Taxi drivers are currently exempt from the so-called carrier's liability, which enable states to impose fines on private transport companies if they allow people without the necessary visas or travel documents to enter the EU, and police fear that refugees may take advantage of this loophole to bypass the ID checks and enter the country illegally.
Ever since the ID controls, that force train, bus and rail operators to check the photo-IDs of passengers travelling into Sweden, came into effect this Monday, police have stopped five taxi cabs from bringing in refugees without valid IDs into the country.
In attempt to fill the loophole, police have decided to arrest and charge all taxi drivers who carry refugees without the necessary papers with people smuggling. If any of the charges will lead to a conviction, however, remains to be seen.
The measure makes taxi drivers responsible for checking if their passengers have the proper documentation to enter the country, which has sparked criticism from the Swedish Taxi Association.
"It's a bad idea. It's more or less absurd. This responsibility should fall on the police," says Claudio Skubla, head of the Taxi Association.
Despite the criticism, the association has recommended its members to be much more restrictive regarding who they pick up and carry across the border, and Claudio Skubla tells Radio Sweden that this will affect both individual drivers and the whole industry in the region.
"Taxi drivers in this region will find it difficult to accept passengers who want to cross the border and this will in turn affect revenue," Skubla says.