Albanian accused of immigration crime to be extradited - 40% of Channel migrants from Albania


AN ALBANIAN man has agreed to be extradited to Belgium to face charges in connection with immigration and criminal organisation offences.

Elio Danaj, 31, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

Belgian prosecutors allege that he was involved in a crime gang that facilitated unlawful entry and residence.

Danaj, of an unknown address, was arrested by the Met police on a European Arrest Warrant.

He was remanded into custody ahead of extradition on a date to be set.

A record of the hearing said he was remanded because he was a flight risk and likely to abscond due to the seriousness of the alleged offences and their high value.

It emerged today that forty per cent of people crossing the Channel in small boats are from Albania, where there has been no war for 25 years, meaning they are unlikely to be refugees.

It was in a leaked secret military intelligence report which said that nine organised crime gangs have been identified as being behind the majority of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats.

The report followed a surveillance operation by the Royal Navy and intelligence experts.

It also states that between June 1 and July 12 this year, one in four of the migrants observed was from Albania. The country has been at peace for 25 years and critics have claimed this shows they were economic migrants as opposed to genuine refugees.

In latest Home Office asylum statistics it said for the year to the end of March 2022 the number of asylum applications from Albanians in the UK had nearly doubled to almost 5,000 - more than from Syrians and Afghans and the fourth most amount behind Iran, Iraq and Eritrea.

The leaked document has given codenames to each of the nine gangs - Dragon, Lotus, Gorgon, Behemoth, Colossus, Titan, Tiamet, Hydra and Leviathan. Between them they helped transport 2,863 migrants in June and July. Of these, 1,075, or 37.5 per cent, were Albanian. Iranians were the next highest number (13 per cent) followed by migrants from Afghanistan (12.7 per cent). Others came from Iraq, Syria and Eritrea. Drones are satellites are thought to have been deployed to track both the crossings and the launch sites. This paper has previously reported on Albanians advertising the crossings on social media sites. Richard Tice, the leader of Reform UK, who obtained the leaked report, said that the percentage of Albanians suggested large numbers of those crossing were economic migrants. He told the newspaper: “If these people are not genuinely fleeing for their lives, then it is not up to the British taxpayer to support them.”