With this week's story about the possible arrival of a Thai cargo ship of more than 200 Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka, I thought I'd post a quick story about human trafficking on an entirely different scale using a rather more clever way of disguising the cargo.
An English punk rock band, aptly named Criminal Mind, was arrested after they returned from a gig in the Czech Republic. After their third appearance in Paris was cancelled, their Czech contact arranged for a truck and drivers to transport the band and their gear back to England. Upon arrival back in Dover, England, the truck was stopped by customs officials and a search of their truck revealed that four Vietnamese immigrants were hiding inside their speakers. Apparently, their 25 year old Czech driver decided to bring some souvenirs to England with him. The entire band was placed under arrest but were released without charges when it was determined that they had nothing to do with the smuggling scheme and they will now be witnesses against the 25 year old driver who has been charged with facilitating entry by asylum seekers.
One member of the band realized that something was amiss when his partly eaten bag of cheese and onion potato chips went missing during the drive back to England. Another band member said that he saw "little spindly fingers" come out of a speaker, tap him on the shoulder and whisper "shhh".
The bassist for the band, 18 year old Ben Dowling, told reporters that the Customs agent said to them that "...their luggage was fine, but what's with all the Vietnamese in your van?".
The final condition of the speakers was not released although I would have to imagine that the woofers, tweeters and cross-overs sustained some damage during the transportation of the illegal immigrants.
In case you're interested, here's Criminal Mind's myspace page.