Kaliningrad Residents Caught out by Lithuanian Border Controls

Since the beginning of 2003 over 200 people have been removed from trains traveling from the Kaliningrad Region through the territory of Lithuania. According to Alexander Chaplygin, the head of the transport department of the Police's Western Force, most Russian citizens were not prepared for the introduction of border controls by Lithuania. 'The vast majority of passengers removed from trains either traveled to Lithuania without a visa, or had invalid documents, and some people didn't have a passport with them at all,' said Chaplygin. 'According to the new agreement with our neighbours on travel by our citizens, from February 1we will experience problems concerning the transit of military personnel, who will have to be in possession of a full passport instead of military identification papers.

Giving the results of the department's work in 2002, Chaplygin announced that thanks to the high professionalism of all its employees, the overall level of crime on property belonging to rail, sea and air transport firms had been significantly reduced (by 11.2%). The crime detection rate was 95%, which is above the Russian average. Not a single serious crime - murder, rape, serious assault - was committed in the area served by the transport police.

Most crimes were connected with the theft of fuel or property, and also with the illegal trade in drugs and weapons. Over 1 thousand tonnes of oil products, around 10 thousand contraband audio and video cassettes and CDs, over 17 thousand cartons of cigarettes, and 120 sea containers with spirits were confiscated.

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