Reports: Third-Country Immigrants Keep Authorities Busy in Seto Region ({{commentsTotal}})

A group of Vietnamese citizens were caught illegally migrating to Estonia last February. Source: Photo: ERR

Unclear reports have come in of incidents in the border zone in Meremäe municipality in southeastern Estonia, and yesterday the body of a man thought to be an illegal immigrant was fished out of the Piusa River in Värska municipality.

Piusa border checkpoint officials were alerted to the discovery of the body of what appeared to be an approximately 30-year-old black man in the Piusa at 11:30 on Thursday.

There were no external signs of injury, said border guard officials, and an autopsy is in progress. The Põlva County police are investigating the circumstances and whether it is connected to an illegal border crossing in Meremäe municipality on Monday.

That incident, about which police were closed-lipped, was believed to involve Vietnamese, however. It involved a helicopter pursuit and tense meetings between Estonian and Russian border officials, Postimees reported.

Several Estonian citizens were arrested for abetting the illegal immigration attempt, Ragne Kask, the police and border guard spokesman, told Postimees.

Local residents in the extreme southeast have long reported an influx of Vietnamese, some of whom work, possibly illegally, in Pskov, a Russian city not far from the Estonian border.

In Estonia, one local business owner near the Piusa River even posted a trilingual sign in the center of the small town of Värska last year for his business - in Estonian, English and Vietnamese, to point up what he said was the scale of the problem. "The immigrants aren't going away, so they might as well get clean before going on to Põlva," Silver Hüdsi of the Vana-Küri Seebikoda, a handmade soap shop, quipped during a 2013 visit by ERR News.

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