Swiss border guards send man back to Italy as video footage shows him trying to unzip suitcase from inside
A 21-year-old man from Eritrea has been caught by Swiss border guards after trying to smuggle himself inside a suitcase on a train from Italy, a tactic not previously seen by local authorities.
Video posted online showed a mans hand, then arm, then head jutting out of the rectangular bag as he struggled to unzip it from the inside. He received help from a border guard, unfolding his legs before being led away.
Italy and Greece have been the major entry points to Europe for hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees over the past year. The central Mediterranean sea route has mainly drawn Africans, while the Greek route has primarily seen Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis.
Mirco Ricci, a Swiss border official in the Ticino region, said on Wednesday the man was detained on Monday evening on a platform in the southern Chiasso municipality and sent back to Italy because he opted not to request asylum. Officials confirmed the video was authentic.
Weve had people try to sneak in in a car trunk, Ricci said. This is the first time weve seen in Ticino that weve found someone in a bag.
Early figures from Switzerlands federal customs administration show a recent upsurge in migrants mostly Eritreans, as well as Somalis and Nigerians trying to enter Ticino in recent weeks. More than 3,400 have been apprehended since 30 May, at least 700 more than than the years tally so far.