Albanian smuggler makes £1million a week from Channel migrants

An Albanian smuggler nicknamed the ‘Golden Lion’ is said to be making around a million pounds a week cashing in on migrants wanting to cross the Channel from northern France to the UK as arrival numbers continue to break records.

An undercover investigation into people-smuggling across the Channel has reportedly uncovered a major player in the Albanian people-smuggling business, who is helping migrants cross illegally into the UK in rubber dinghies. Nicknamed “the Golden Lion”, the smuggler told undercover reporters he could get them into the UK for around £4,500 ($4,800) for each person willing to make the journey.

The Albanian, who was secretly filmed, explained that once the migrants crossed the Channel, British authorities would find them and look after them, giving them shelter and food and other supplies. Daily Mail References.

The newspaper, along with Albanian television network ABC, found that much of the illegal smuggling took place near the main train station in the northern French city of Dunkirk, with the “Golden Lion” operating at the Le Lion d’Or hotel. , where his nickname comes from.

According to the undercover journalists, the Albanian looks for potential immigrant clients in the Place de la Gare and then takes them to his hotel where he talks about work.

“The people on the boat call their relatives and then they call the UK police to pick you up. The sooner [as] you cross the water they will give you food, everything. If people are cold, they are given blankets,” the Albanian told reporters, adding, “Then they drop you in a camp. It will be a day or two before they register you and see if you are wanted, and then they release you and send you to a hotel.”

Said to earn up to a million pounds a week, the ‘Golden Lion’ is demanding that his partner in the UK be paid, not him in France, and despite being arrested shortly after speaking to the undercover reporters, he was released the next day , saying, “They can’t do anything because I have the documents to stay here.”

People smuggling is big business in northern France, with the number of migrants illegally crossing the English Channel already exceeding 30,000 so far this year, already breaking the previous record for annual arrivals in August.

While French police also reported one of the biggest crackdowns on people-smuggling networks earlier this month, smugglers remain active and often clash with each other, leading to shootings at makeshift migrant camps blamed on rival smugglers, in which several migrants have been arrested. the crossfire.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email ctomlinson(at)

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