NEWS

Gang held migrants hostage

Thirty-seven illegal immigrants were arrested yesterday on the Aegean islands of Lesvos and Samos after sailing from Turkey. The arrests came just two days after police said they freed 28 migrants who were being held hostage by at least three smugglers in Athens. Lesvos coast guard found nine men yesterday morning just as they were setting fire to the wooden boat they had traveled in and then arrested two men in a rubber dinghy. Officers on Samos arrested 26 migrants (20 men and six women) after they sailed over in two boats. Meanwhile, police in Athens said on Saturday that they had arrested three people on suspicion of being members of a migrant-smuggling ring. The gang was holding 28 illegal immigrants hostage in a house, demanding that their relatives pay 3,000 euros – the fee agreed for their transfer to Greece – to secure their release. The migrants, whose nationality was not revealed, were given just basic food and water and were beaten, police said. Officers did not say where the three suspects were from, but added they were looking for three more.