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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Torn from today’s headlines-01

While I write fiction, much of it is based on real or even current events. Whether that’s my Tana Standish spy stories set in the 1970s-1980s, or my contemporary tales about Sister Rose and PI Leon Cazador.

Reported this week, a Chinese smuggling gang was busted by French and Spanish police. Seventy-five people were arrested, 51 in Spain, 24 in France, including the two Barcelona-based heads of the organisation. Some of the people trafficked ended up in the sex trade. The gang charged up to £43,000 to transport Chinese nationals to Britain, the US, Spain, France, Greece, Italy and Turkey. The gang’s main European hub was Barcelona airport, a stopping off point where false documentation was prepared. (Photo - 2 days ago)

The truth is, Europe is being swamped by illegal immigrants from Africa, the Middle East and even Asia, many of them fleeced by criminal gangs of life-savings for the promise of a better life.

Vargas gestured at the beach. ‘As you can see, Mr Kirby, I have my hands full these days.’ He spoke in English as Kirby had confessed his Spanish wasn’t too good.

‘Yes, I can see only too well,’ Kirby replied. Tall, blond, tanned and dressed in khaki shirt and shorts, Kirby felt rather unkempt next to Vargas, who was immaculate in his avocado green uniform with its two gold star shoulder-flashes. Vargas had thick lips, a prominent chin and slightly protruding ears. He exuded competence and authority.

Kirby looked out to sea. Offshore, the twin diesels of the Guardia Civil boat Rio Palma purred, perhaps reflecting the satisfaction of its crew.

Forty-four African illegal immigrants were being helped ashore from their dilapidated 30ft-long open boat. The immigrants struggled to stand, their legs unused to firm ground after a seven hundred mile sea journey. Policemen wore protective facemasks and paper bodysuits and, with practiced ease, they stripped the Africans of their filthy clothing and dressed them in garish shell-suits and flip-flops. A mobile field hospital was drawn up on the dockside. Ambulances started ferrying the few who were being brought ashore on stretchers.

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