A French man and his mainland Turk friend, who appeared before a sovereign base area (SBA) court after the latter was found in the boot of the former’s rental car trying to cross from the north, claimed the purpose of their visit was to see tourist sites, the bases said on Thursday.
“A French man has been fined €400 after he was caught attempting to smuggle a Turkish mainlander through the Black Knight crossing point in Strovilia in the boot of his hire car last Friday,” a statement from the bases said.
“The discovery was made by SBA Customs and Immigration officers during a routine car search and both men were immediately arrested and taken to the Dhekelia police station for further questioning by customs officials.”
When questioned, the men both confessed to being aware that the Turkish national required a visa to enter the bases and the republic, which was why they tried to bypass the process.
“The men claimed their intention was to visit tourist sites within the Republic of Cyprus which the Turkish national had not seen before returning to the Turkish controlled areas later in the day,” the statement said.
The bases said that during a special sitting of the court in Dhekelia last Saturday, the Turk pleaded guilty to being a prohibited migrant within the SBAs and was given a three-month custodial sentence suspended for two years before being immediately returned to the Turkish controlled areas.
The French man after pleading guilty to aiding a prohibited migrant to enter the SBAs and paying his fine returned to France later that night.
“The checks and searches conducted by SBA Customs and Immigration officers are to combat the illegal movement of people and commodities across the Green Line,” Andy Reed, head of customs and immigration in Dhekelia, said.
“They provide the first line of security for both the SBAs and the RoC and this was a naïve attempt to illegally gain entry to the SBAs. The actions taken by my officers and the sentence handed out by the SBA Court should be a deterrent to those who may attempt to smuggle goods or people for a more sinister purpose into the SBA or the RoC and think that the SBA crossing points are a softer option.”