Tag Archives: transport

€10M worth Romanian traffic gang arrest

An unprecedented law enforcement operation involving five countries has resulted in the takedown of one of the most active networks of cargo thieves operating across Europe. Composed of over 100 members, this organised crime group is believed to have committed over 150 acts of cargo theft for a total estimated damage worth in excess of €10 million. (Image: illustration).

The coordinated actions took place under the umbrella of a joint investigation, code-named ‘ARROW’, coordinated by Europol at the international level.

The latest phase of Operation ARROW has resulted in the arrest today in Romania of 37 members of this highly professional criminal syndicate. 73 house searches were carried out in the early hours of the morning across the country by the Romanian National Police (Poliția Română) and the French National Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie Nationale) with the support of Europol on-the-ground.

These arrests this week in Romania follow those in other European countries of other members of the same criminal group. 10 suspects were arrested in France earlier this year by the French National Gendarmerie as part of a parallel action. A further 10 suspects were arrested in Spain, 6 in the Netherlands and 5 in Sweden. European arrests warrants have been issued for the remaining members at large. 

The arrested individuals, who are originally from Romania, are suspected of carrying out thefts from moving lorries, even as the drivers continued to drive – obvious to the crimes – at high speed on motorways. 

Executing such thefts requires a high degree of sophistication. One car would start to drive slowly in front of the lorry while two other cars held up the other traffic. A fourth car would drive up close behind the lorry. One of the criminals would climb out of the car’s sunroof onto the bonnet and break open the lock on the lorry with an angle grinder. The valuable cargo would then either be transferred to their vehicle, or thrown on the side of the road to be picked up later. The driver of the lorry and other road-users were often completely unaware of what was going on.

Involved from the very onset of the investigation in December 2016, Europol brought together the different police forces involved to help them connect the dots between their own national investigations and provided analytical support before and during the action days. 

Novel virus: science alerts big cities

A study published on The Lancet estimates 75,815 individuals are affected by coronavirus.

The outbreak is expected to reach major cities in one to two weeks.

The virus is spreading rapidly throughout Asia and has reached some parts of Europe.
The Lancet, one of the most prestigious medical journals globally, released a study estimating the total number of individuals affected by coronavirus. Astonishingly, the journal says more than 75,800 people have been infected in Wuhan, China alone.

Considering the large number of people that left Wuhan to other major cities like Chongqing and Beijing, the researchers predicted that major Chinese population centers could be affected by the coronavirus outbreak within one to two weeks.

Official reports placed the number of individuals that left Wuhan to nearby countries like Thailand, Japan and South Korea at around 40,000.

Given that 2019-nCoV is no longer contained within Wuhan, other major Chinese cities are probably sustaining localised outbreaks. Large cities overseas with close transport links to China could also become outbreak epicentres, unless substantial public health interventions at both the population and personal levels are implemented immediately. – The Lancet journal  writes.

https://twitter.com/sotiridi/status/1223282345702313987?s=21

“Independent self-sustaining outbreaks in major cities globally could become inevitable because of substantial exportation of presymptomatic cases and in the absence of large-scale public health interventions. Preparedness plans and mitigation interventions should be readied for quick deployment globally” – The Lancet article concludes.

Easter transport massive lamb abuse

Yet again, lambs have been transported across the EU for days with no water, food, room to rest or veterinary care. An investigation by Animal Welfare Foundation sheds light on the systematic cruelties and violations behind the transport of lambs from Eastern Europe to Italy during Easter.

Every year during Easter, Italy imports tens of thousands of lambs for slaughter, mostly from Romania and Hungary. In 2018 Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF|TSB) and Animal Equality Italy released an investigation exposing the terrible conditions in which 800 lambs of only four weeks old were transported for at least 30 hours from Eastern Europe. At that time, AWF|TSB called the police, who fined the transporter 20,000 euros.

This year AWF|TSB teams investigated eleven trucks on 14-17 April, three of them in collaboration with the Italian police. Alarmingly, this latest investigation confirms that nothing has changed, and the story repeats itself.

This year, the three trucks inspected by the police and transporting about 2,400 lambs were fined about 15,000 euros for infringing the EU Transport Regulation (Ref. leg. 1/2005). Violations detected included overcrowding that impeded animals from moving and standing in a natural position, insufficient ceiling height, inappropriate drinking systems that cause dehydration, and incorrectly filled-in papers.

One of the drivers stopped did not even have the authorization to transport live animals, and another of the three trucks was from Hungary and had already been checked by AWF|TSB in 2018, 2017 and 2016, with the same violations recorded by the investigators in 2019. In a truck from Romania, AWF|TSB spotted a lamb that was laying on the ground, unable to stand and breath normally. Since the vehicle was lacking of emergency doors, the team of investigators was not able to help him and it was left on the truck, without any veterinary care, for transport to the slaughterhouse.

AWF|TSB will continue working with its lawyer to put pressure on the transporters, the veterinarians involved and the slaughterhouses.

A video of the investigation is available here.

 

EU Military Mobility Plan

As part of a major drive to consolidate and reinforce EU security and defence, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU High Representative Federica Mogherini presented an Action Plan on Military Mobility.

The objective is to work together at European level to ensure road and rail networks are suitable for military transport, and to simplify and streamline national rules for quick and seamless movement of military troops and vehicles across the continent in case of a crisis.

NATO and European Parliaments MEPs have welcomed the Plan.