Hungarian authorities are arresting refugees crossing the Serbian-Hungarian border as tough new border control laws are introduced.
Police have detained nine Syrian and seven Afghan refugees for illegally crossing the razor wire fence at the border town of Roszke.
Police spokeswoman Viktoria Csiszer-Kovacs said the refugees were suspected of lifting the fence to get into Hungary, which is now a crime under the strict laws that came into effect from midnight.
She said: “Right now the circumstances of the crime are being established. The refugees were not caught in the act, but captured several hundred metres from the border fence.”
The new laws were introduced to deal with huge influx of asylum seekers and economic migrants pouring into the country to escape their war-torn nations largely in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Migrants and refugees who have not submitted an asylum application in Serbia will be turned back at the Hungarian border and they will only be able to enter the country at legal crossing points.
Zoltan Kovacs, Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Relations, said: “Cutting or damaging the fence is going to be a crime and obviously illegal border crossing is going to be a crime.
“But I also should mention that there are going to be draconian new rules against human traffickers – that is organised crime – which we believe is one of the causes actually of what is happening at the moment.”
Hungarian police said they have now detained a record 9,380 people crossing into the country from Serbia on Monday, the highest daily figure this year. Some 190,000 refugees have arrived in Hungary this year as the country has become the gateway for refugees heading to western Europe.