NEWS

Pakistanis preyed on migrants

Police in Attica have broken a Pakistani people-smuggling ring that allegedly brought illegal immigrants into Greece whom they then imprisoned and tortured in order to extract payment from their relatives. Four Pakistani nationals have been arrested for alleged gang membership, while another five are being sought, police said yesterday. The string of arrests kicked off on Thursday, when officers working on a tip-off arrested Mohammed Iqbal, 42, in the Athens central vegetable market at Rendi receiving 4,000 euros as ransom for the liberation of two immigrants. Acting on information extracted from Iqbal, police discovered 26 terrified, underfed illegal immigrants locked in the basement of an abandoned house in a remote part of Aspropyrgos, an industrial area southwest of Athens. Police believe the gang smuggled some 60 illegal immigrants into the country every week through Turkey. The hapless migrants were then locked up at gunpoint in the Aspropyrgos area and maltreated until their relatives paid up to 2,500 euros per head for their release.