So here’s a business idea

Hundreds of migrants are using children’s bicycles to cross a border – after officials banned people making the journey on foot.
Men are seen struggling to balance as they wobble on the tiny bikes at the checkpoint between Russia and Norway.
After making an epic journey from as far as Syria and Afghanistan, they make the final metres to Western Europe on two wheels at the Storskog border post.

They have been forced to use the loophole after Russian authorities outlawed crossings on foot, while under Norwegian law it is illegal to drive people into the country if they do not have the proper papers.
Locals near the Arctic Circle checkpoint are now doing a roaring trade selling a border crossing package for £130 – which includes a taxi ride from a nearby town to the border and bicycle hire.
Migrants buy children’s fold-up bicycles because they are cheaper than adult versions. They are then able to make the 130-yard journey across no-man’s land without breaking any laws.
Once across, piles of discarded bicycles build up outside the office of the Norwegian customs police and are cleared away every two or three days.

It’s that “cleared away” bit. Come on, this is sodding Russia we’re talking about. The second hand bike shop on the Russian side is owned by some group of the border guards. Who are the people who collect them from the Norwegians for a split of the take.

And if this isn’t the case already it bloody will be soon enough.

10 thoughts on “So here’s a business idea”

  1. Only seven asylum seekers arrived at the crossing last year, but there have been 1,100 so far this month alone. A new reception centre is being built in the nearby town of Kirkenes to accommodate the rising numbers of arrivals.

    Why? You don’t need a reception centre, just some barbed wire and armed men.

  2. We aren’t even bothering to put “asylum seekers” in quotes any more. What makes you think armed resistance at the border is going to happen?

  3. Rob – it’s armed resistance at the border now, or armed resistance on the streets later. If Norway wants to still exist as a country in the not-too-distant future, they’ll have to pick one.

  4. I think you will find there is a 75% import tariff imposed on the estimated fair market value of second hand bicycles imported into Russia from Norway.

    “And if this isn’t the case already it bloody will be soon enough.”

  5. It’s the rule of law I worry about. One person turns up saying I hear your welfare is very generous can I sign on please? They have good laugh and tell you piss off. Turn up with 999 like minded friends and all of a sudden it’s where are we going to put them?

    What’s the citizenry supposed to make of that?

  6. Why, one wonders, do they not stay in Russia? The socialist paradise?
    Europe is really screwed. All that Scandinavian Righteousness is about to kneecap them in a very distasteful way.

  7. “One person turns up saying I hear your welfare is very generous can I sign on please”

    And of course the answer to that is : yes, you’ll be able to qualify after 18 years’ residence, exactly the same as every other Norwegian.

  8. And of course the answer to that is : yes, you’ll be able to qualify after 18 years’ residence, exactly the same as every other Norwegian.” Norway isn’t going to let her newest inhabitants starve, or be homeless, or not miss out on health etc etc

  9. Tim,
    The article said that the bicycles are destroyed because theyare deemed “not fit for use” under Norwegian standards. The journalist watched as a border policeman picked one up and bent the handlebars into a U. Admittedly the average 7-year-old would not be able to do that, but the destruction of the bicycles may slow down the inflow as they may run out of children’s bicycles in the Kola peninsula.

  10. Yesterday’s pub had Sky news on the telly. Sound off of course, but there were shots of a big skip full of bicycles being crushed by a digger. I thought it didn’t look very eco-friendly, but now it makes sense.

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