Image: taken from a story by Expresso back in 2018 entitled ‘Slaves of the River’. This illegal activity, undertaken in the main by undocumented immigrants, has been going on in plain sight for well over a decade. Image: Luís Barra
Image: taken from a story by Expresso back in 2018 entitled ‘Slaves of the River’. This illegal activity, undertaken in the main by undocumented immigrants, has been going on in plain sight for well over a decade. Image: Luís Barra

Another 500 “identified” in illegal clam harvesting on banks of Tejo

Maritime Police conduct 2nd raid this year in area of Samouco beach

For the second time in months, authorities have swooped on the illegal clam harvesting that goes on along the banks of the river Tejo, principally using undocumented immigrant labour.

And for the second time in months, hundreds of these immigrants have been ‘removed’ from the squalid conditions in which they were living, almost certainly to return once today’s ‘heat’ has subsided.

This time, the mega operation – again targeting the area close to Samouco beach, near Montijo, has identified around 500 people.

The objective of the morning raid has been given as “guaranteeing public safety to citizens and local inhabitants, as well as detecting people involved in human trafficking networks and illegal clam harvesting on the Tejo river.”

“At the moment, around 500 people have been identified”, a statement from the national maritime authority has explained, adding that the operation “also has the collaboration of the Information and Security Service (SIS), in the context of operational analysis”.

The operation was carried out by the Maritime Police through the Lisbon Maritime Police Local Command, the Tactical Actions Group and the Central Criminal Investigation Unit, involving around 100 agents.

Today’s statement refers to the operation carried out in June when 249 immigrants were ‘removed’ from the conditions in which they were found, only to return shortly afterwards.

In that operation three Portuguese men and a Vietnamese man were arrested.

Interviewed today, one of the agents overseeing today’s operation admitted this was part on ongoing actions against an illegal activity which began in 2012. These intermittent swoops are designed to “contribute” towards the cessation of illegal clam harvesting.

“This is a social problem that affects this region”, admitted the agent, who stressed that today’s operation is still ongoing, in that people identified will now require further ‘scrutiny’, as will any other ‘activities’ identified.

For now, there has been no confirmation on the number of arrests, if any. ND

Sources: SIC Notícias/ TVI