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Suspect arrested for smuggling Syrian refugees

A 29-year-old Syrian man has been arrested on human trafficking charges following the arrival of 143 Syrian refugees in Latsi, Paphos on Monday.

According to CID Paphos spokesman Michalis Ioannou, refugees identified the 29-year-old as the trafficker who was subsequently arrested at around 10 am on Monday morning.

He is expected to appear before the Paphos District Court on Tuesday on human trafficking charges.

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During the registration of the refugees at the Polis police station, 17 were discovered to be blacklisted for entering Cyprus illegally on previous occasions and detained.

Three pregnant women and a man were admitted to the hospital in Polis after complaining of dizziness.

According to the refugees, they set sail from Mersin, Turkey on Saturday afternoon after paying the smugglers $2,000 each.

The boat was towed to the Latsi harbour early on Monday morning by harbour police following calls for assistance after mechanical problems had left the boat adrift.

Of the 143 refugees, 50 are children, 31 women and 62 men. All the refugees except the 17 detained and the suspected trafficker will be transferred to the Kokkinotrimithia Refugee Centre on the outskirts of Nicosia

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