NEWS

Coach driver pushed his luck

Having failed on last week’s first Sunday of voting to smuggle 14 illegal immigrants into Greece, a Thessaloniki coach driver banked on border security controls being more relaxed during yesterday’s second round of voting for the municipal and prefectural elections. But police at the Kipi crossing on the Turkish border searched the coach, which was part of a regular service from Georgia to Greece, finding 14 illegal immigrants from Armenia and seven Georgian nationals who lacked Greek visas crouched under the seats. Bus driver Ioannis Kessidis, 26, was arrested and will be charged with migrant smuggling, while the bus was seized. Police said Kessidis had tried to sneak the same 14 Armenians through the same border crossing last Sunday. But they were refused entry, as their residence permits were found to be forged. Meanwhile, the Merchant Marine Ministry said on Saturday that Lithuanian caravaner Virgilius Matusaitis was arrested Friday in Igoumenitsa trying to board an Italy-bound ferry with seven Iraqi migrants hidden in his vehicle.