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Monday, March 20, 2023

The dark shadow of the tomato town: Närpiö’s rail tangle swells even more

There are six suspects in the Närpö human trafficking and rail network. There are many more stakeholders, i.e. victims.

Vyhti has been investigated by both the Ostrobothnia police and the human trafficking unit of the Helsinki police. There are a total of three preliminary investigation branches.

Special Prosecutor Peter Levlin says that two of the branches are being considered by the prosecutors. The third branch of the investigation is still with the police, but already in the final statement phase.

Levlin and the special prosecutor Marina Ek-Bäck conduct a criminal investigation of all investigative branches. According to Levlin’s assessment, the cases are intertwined to such an extent that the two branches will probably be combined. If charges are brought, there would be two trials.

Possible trials will be held in the district court of Ostrobothnia.

According to special prosecutor Levlin, it won’t take very long for the prosecution to be considered, but the bottleneck will be at the court stage. There is a backlog in the court, so trials will not be able to be organized in the next few months.

The couple was imprisoned

Närpiö has more than 400 residents of Vietnamese background.  A significant number of them work in greenhouses.Närpiö has more than 400 residents of Vietnamese background.  A significant number of them work in greenhouses.

Närpiö has more than 400 residents of Vietnamese background. A significant number of them work in greenhouses. Pete Anikari

The rail scandal that shook the economic miracle of greenhouse town Närpiö became public last year at the turn of January-Februarywhen the district court of Ostrobothnia imprisoned a 39-year-old restaurant entrepreneur and her 43-year-old husband on suspicion of two counts of aggravated robbery.

Both are of Vietnamese background, but have already lived in Finland for years.

According to the suspicion, they would have committed gross misconduct in 2017-2019 and again in 2020 in Närpiö.

One of the suspects is a greenhouse grower. There are two hundred greenhouse companies in Närpiö. Pete Anikari

The couple would have attracted and recruited their fellow countrymen and women to work in Finland in return for excessive monetary compensation. The threshold money would have been as much as 10,000-20,000 euros.

The victims paid a huge sum for nothing, because Vietnamese people willing to work would have been taken to work in Närpiö’s greenhouses without the help of the suspects.

According to the police’s understanding, there would be several dozen, even 50, victims of gross extortion, that is, Vietnamese people who paid a high threshold amount.

The status of the victim was inherited

Närpiö produces 60 percent of Finland’s tomatoes and half of the cucumbers. Pete Anikari

The way of collecting threshold money has apparently been ingrained among the more than 400 Vietnamese in Närpiö. Suspicious couple had to myself became a victim of a robbery at the beginning of the last decade when he came to Finland.

The couple had owned a small clothing store in Vietnam, which produced quite well there. However, they believed the 39-year-old woman’s male relative living in Finland that they would earn the same amount in Finland and Närpiö, but that their children would have a better future in Finland.

The couple sold their shop and also took out a loan. They paid the woman’s uncle Suomen 16,000 euros.

In 2015, the Vaasa Court of Appeal sentenced the woman’s uncle Suomen to one year in prison for aggravated assault.

Now another couple is a suspect in the tangle in the closing statements. At least one Finnish greenhouse farmer has been the same. The farmer has been suspected of human trafficking.

The town of Närpiö, with just under 10,000 inhabitants, is located on the coast of Ostrobothnia, south of Vaasa. Pete Anikari

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