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The Latest: Hungary detains 60 migrants under new laws

Published:Wednesday | September 16, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Refugees wait after crossing the border between Hungary and Austria in Nickelsdorf, Austria, 70 kilometres (43 miles) southeast of Vienna, yesterday.
A young man and his son lean on a border stone after he was stopped by Hungarian soldiers at the border between Serbia and Hungary in Asotthalom near Roszke, southern Hungary, yesterday.
A migrant looks through a fence at the closed Roszke-Horgos border crossing between Hungary and Serbia.
Migrants sit on the ground following their arrest by Hungarian police officers and soldiers after they tried to cross the border between Serbia and Hungary in Roszke, southern Hungary, yesterday.


Hungarian authorities say they detained 60 migrants for attempting to illegally enter the country's southern border with Serbia by breaching a razor-wire fence.

The detentions yesterday came as a set of new laws took effect that are meant to stop the huge flow of migrants through the country.

According to the new legislation, it is a felony to cross or damage the 4-metre (13-foot) fence that the country has built along its southern border with Serbia.

Gyorgy Bakondi, homeland security adviser to Prime Minister Viktor Orban, said authorities caught 45 people trying to cross at the southern border and 15 deeper in the country. They got across by damaging the fence and are now in police custody and are being charged with committing offences under the new laws. Authorities are repairing the spots where the fence was damaged.

Meanwhile, the International Organisation for Migration is predicting more deaths in the Aegean Sea and increased strains on Greece because of EU "indecision" about how to handle an influx of migrants and refugees to Europe. IOM spokesman Leonard Doyle said yesterday that decisions by some European countries to clamp down on travel across their borders might have a "domino effect" and affect countries like Greece, where it's harder to stop people, mostly Syrian refugees, from crossing from the Turkish coast.


Turkish media reported that 22 people, including four children, have drowned after a 20-metre wooden boat sank off Turkey's coast. The private Dogan agency said 211 people were rescued from yesterday's sinking in international waters between Datca in Turkey and the Greek island of Kos. It wasn't immediately clear where the people were from, or what caused the sinking.

The incident comes two days after 34 people, including 15 children, drowned off the Greek island of Farmakonissi when the wooden boat they were on sank. Nearly 100 other people were rescued.

Hungary has declared a state of emergency in two of its southern counties bordering Serbia because of the migration crisis, giving special powers to police and other authorities. Government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said the decision was made at yesterday's Cabinet meeting. The measure also paves the way for the deployment of the army to assist police with border patrol and migrant-related duties, pending approval from parliament which is expected next week. Hungary began enforcing tougher rules on people entering the country illegally and also increased prison terms for convicted human traffickers.