A Slovak man was recently sentenced to four years and eight months in jail for having picked up 29 Vietnamese illegal immigrants in a Mercedes Benz van.

In May 2017, a total of 29 Vietnamese were taken to a forest in Ukraine and led close to the border with Slovakia at night by a Ukrainian man, Kosice Korzar reported. They were then taken away by two masked people smugglers.

After walking or two hours the Vietnamese were put in a van, which then crossed the Ukrainian-Slovak border. They were then taken to Sobrance district in Slovakia and put in a Mercedes Benz van driven by Marek S, a 46-year-old Slovak man.

Two of the Vietnamese fainted before the car stopped and unloaded 12 of them into two other cars. Shortly after midnight, the Mercedes Benz was chased by police and stopped at a petrol station. A total of 17 Vietnamese were found in the back of the van.

In a previous court hearing, Marek S claimed he did not know there were people in the back of the van as he had been told by a Ukrainian man named only as Sergei to deliver some items. He was given directions on a walkie-talkie, The Slovak Spectator reported.

His claim was rejected by the Michalovce District Court in Slovakia as some of the illegal Vietnamese immigrants in his car said their ultimate destination was Germany. Marek S filed an appeal, which has not yet been heard by the regional court.