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Man forced to re-apply for asylum after boarding wrong train

David Landes · 28 Oct 2009, 08:33

Published: 28 Oct 2009 08:33 GMT+01:00

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The 27-year-old man, who filed his original asylum claim in 2007, was visiting the Malmö office of the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) where he learned that a deportation order against him had been lifted and that his case would be reconsidered, the Smålandsposten newspaper reports.

Upon leaving the Migration Board offices, he then made his way to the city’s central train station to board a train back to his home near Växjö in south central Sweden.

But in the excitement that followed the realization that he was not going to be forced to leave Sweden, the man inadvertently boarded a train traveling in the opposite direction – to the Danish capital of Copenhagen.

Before he realized his mistake, the 27-year-old found himself caught up in a routine, on-board identity check being carried out by Danish police.

The man did his best to explain the situation, hoping police could direct him to the next train back to Sweden.

But instead he was taken in for questioning.

After three weeks, the Danish police finally brought the man back to Sweden.

“It would have been easier if the Danish police had simply pointed the man to the right train so he could have been back in Sweden in 15 minutes,” the man’s attorney, Eva Almström, told the newspaper.

The simple mistake has proven costly for the 27-year-old’s quest to gain asylum in Sweden.

Story continues below…

In the eyes of Swedish migration officials, leaving the country for an unintended trip meas he must now submit a new application for asylum.

“He just has to start over from the beginning,” said Almström.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:09 October 28, 2009 by Hauhr
This reminds me of the great novel Catch-22 which pokes fun at this ridiculous kind of beaurocracy
09:11 October 28, 2009 by peropaco
Thats just bad karma.
10:41 October 28, 2009 by krrodman
Why do I find it so hard to believe that "in his excitement he boarded the wrong train." I have travel between Malmo and Copenhagen routinely. I have never seen an immigration official. Personally, I don't believe for one second that his trip to Copenhagen was an accident. I don't mean to suggest that he was up to no good. Probably just wanted a tall Tuborg with some friends to celebrate.
11:17 October 28, 2009 by Nemesis
This comes across to me as being on the side of vindictiveness.

@ krrodman,

Actually I have done the same in Malmo, last year, when I was talking on my mobile phone so not paying full attention and ended up back in Copenhagen, where i had just come from work. If he was excited, most likely he was talking to family on the phone and not paying attention.

I have been to Malmo with a friend from Iran and another from Thailand to the immigration office. When getting out of the immigration office, both were on the phone to there fmaily back home until we were literally on the train. Upon getting home, they were on the phone again and seriously distracted all day.

Also as his application had been reconsidered, the police should have just put him back on the next train to Malmo.

This does come across as inflexible for the sake of being inflexible.

Also I see an immigration and customs officer on patrol about once a week on the train over the Orseund bridge. I think you should pay a bit more attention, as sometimes they have a plain clothes person with them. Strangely I have only ever seen them ask brown or black people for identification, which is most likely why they have never asked me for identification, even though they have challenged some of my friends in my company.

Coming from Belfast, I can spot a police officer in uniform or plain clothes a long way away. You may come from a society where you are not accustomed to paying attention to them.
11:23 October 28, 2009 by Brynolf
@krrodman I've come across immigration officials on the train several times, they'll ask anyone who doesn't 'look' Swedish to show their ID. They also check passengers on the buses that run between Malmö and Copenhagen. With the building chaos at Malmö Central at the moment, it's completely possibly to board the wrong train...
11:25 October 28, 2009 by peropaco
Agree with krrodman. I take that train at least twice a week and besides from the ticket collector/inspector, I have never seeing a police on board. Furthermore, the distance between Växjö and CPH is around 200 kilometres so at certain point he should have noticed his mistake. his story doesnt sound too kosher to me.
11:46 October 28, 2009 by krrodman
I accept that I tend to be a mite more cynical than the average Swede. Perhaps it was a simple mistake. We are all human, after all. Or, perhaps this fellow has a complete disregard for the rules of the game.

I ask you this: How come there was no mention of his train ticket? A ticket to Vaxjo would be proof enough to me, and the authorities I would imagine, that his mistake was an innocent one. Although he may have purchased a return ticket to cover his illegal actions. Sorry, there I go again......
16:17 October 28, 2009 by coolguy09
I cant believe in mans story , he must have seen Malmo Syd and the Malmo copehagen bridge, the landmarks are quite visible .I cannot speak swedish , but the announcement as well as sign boards in train are quite obvious and easy to comprehend .
18:26 October 28, 2009 by Caribbean guy/Swedish Gal
kosher ?? why not halall????
18:50 October 28, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
Seriously you guys, why are you so happy to discount that it was just a stupid mistake?

If it was not a mistake, what was his motive?

If he had been told by Migrationsverket that they will still deport him and to go back home and wait to be kicked out, then the trip might make sense. If he feared that decision would go against him, then he would have tried to do a runner instead of going Migrationsverket.

We should really be discussing the idiotic "doing it by the book" attitude of Migrationsverket and Swedes in general.
19:03 October 28, 2009 by Atlas
Due to my work at Kastrup, i take the train that goes to Malmo from Copenhagen very often, and indeed there are police patrol from Denmark that check ID/tickets (it happened to me once), but as far as i can tell, those policemen board the train when it is at Copenhagen Airport, not on Malmo, neither on Malmo Syd.

Therefore i find it very difficult to accept the fact that this guy didn't notice he was going the wrong way!!!

Supposedly that he missed the last train stop in Sweden, which is Malmo Syd, he could have gotten off at Copenhagen Airport and board the train in the other direction, but he "didn't notice" he was in Denmark by the time the police found him, he didn't see that he was traveling over strait of Oresund, or that the train went in a long tunnel, or even the train arrived at Copenhagen airport, it was "impossible" to notice such things, even though the train PA (public announcement) notifies you of the next stop, and in english as well when you are about to arrive at Copenhagen Airport...

Forget about bureaucracy of Swedish Immigration Board, this guy is the one who it.
20:00 October 28, 2009 by spy
Poor chap but one can't help but have a small chuckle.
17:26 December 22, 2009 by Canada_Girl
He's been in Sweden for how long and he wasn't able to communicate well? Umm... I think there's another issue at play here.
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