Jan and Rita Koppe Draeger from Egmond aan Zee were shocked this weekend by an act that “threatened their lives”. On their way back from their campervan holiday, the couple stops near the French city of Calais. There’s a thump. When Rita goes to have a look, there appears to be a strange man hiding on the bike rack. According to police, this was to illegally flee to England.
“I was walking around and suddenly I saw a shoe and a bump in the rain cover,” the Egmond native told NH. She has been upset about the situation for two days and wants to warn holidaymakers. “Apparently this is happening, but you don’t hear about it.”
It’s Saturday afternoon, after a few weeks of sunshine in Spain and torrential rain, Rita and Jean stop in the French town of Beaufrequin.
“My husband went to stretch his legs and get a cappuccino. I was sitting alone in my slippers, but the doors were locked. In fact, we never leave the camper alone because we’ve heard enough horror stories about burglaries. We’ve also been robbed a few times.”
“My husband and I had to turn back because the police didn’t know if he had anything on him.”
When Rita goes to the toilet, she hears the word “kaponk.” “Like someone drove into the carriage.” She doesn’t see a car in the mirrors, but she sees a shadow. Her feeling tells her that something is wrong and she gets scared.
“There was a guy in an approaching truck pointing at the back of the truck and yelling for me to call the police. I thought: What the hell is this?” Then she saw a shoe sticking out of the rain cover on top of the bike rack. The person must have just boarded the cart.
I ran to the gas station, called the police and twenty minutes later the gendarmerie – a paramilitary unit in France – arrived. “They shouted ‘police, police’ and raised the tarpaulin. My husband and I had to go back because they didn’t know if he had anything on him.”
Rita talks about this in the video below. The text continues
The person coming out from under the dress does not have a bag or other belongings. “But a hat, a scarf and ID papers,” says Rita. He would hardly have tensed a muscle or reacted to his discovery.
“As if it were the most natural thing in the world. He muttered something about wanting to go to England, I think. And then the police told me that too. But we never went to England at all.”
Channel to England
Along the west coast of France, more and more refugees are trying to cross into the UK in inflatable boats. This is partly because the large police force and high fences around the roads leading to the Channel Tunnel in the French city of Calais make people smuggling more difficult.
But the migrants are still trying to board the trucks. Plus the last few months Several deaths In the Calais region, according to research by NH.
And it seems people are now also trying it out on unsuspecting vacationers in their campsites. Royal Dutch Military Police spokesman Robert van Capelle says he is aware of this type of case involving “climbers” in the Netherlands as well. “You see the craziest places.”
Last week, two Algerian teenagers were found in Hoek van Holland In a horse trailer – They also wanted to take a ferry to the UK. “If people notice or hear something like this, they should contact the police or military police immediately.”
Although human smuggling is punishable by law, there is little likelihood of the ignorant Egmond couple being punished if they had driven to England with this man in the carriage, according to the military police.
“If you have no knowledge of a criminal offense and did not know it existed, you will not be prosecuted. If you intentionally take someone across the border illegally, you will be punished for human smuggling. This should be clear through questioning and trial. Research.”
Rita criticizes the man’s risk of climbing onto the bike carrier. “He could have fallen. What happened to him?”
According to the couple, the thing can hold only sixty kilograms. “There were already two folding bikes and this man weighed at least eighty kilograms. What if we went to the highway at 110 kilometers per hour and it broke down? The disaster is immeasurable.”
“If you want to go to England, that’s fine, but not on my luggage carrier.”
Did Rita think about leaving him alone to help this man? “My heart is very big. I often help people. My children also said: It’s a good thing you didn’t start a conversation with him, because he might have been lying between you in the carriage. Or now in the cava sitting in Egmond.”
However, last Saturday she thought a little more about herself, their safety and the safety of other road users. “No matter how bad it is, I’m so angry. And I haven’t slept well because of it. If you want to go to England, that’s fine, but not on my luggage carrier.”
Podcast about refugees
“Obviously it happens, but you never hear anything about it,” Rita says. So she wants to warn people. “As rickshaw drivers, we also have to take that into consideration. We just got it and worked hard for it. I also hope that people smugglers will be tackled.”
The consequences of the refugee problem between France and England are literally looming large in the northern Netherlands. Even in Egmond aan Zee. This is the topic of the De Egmondse Refugee Boat podcast.
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