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Hungary border fence ineffective as migrants arrive in record numbers

Published 26/08/2015

Syrian refugees cross into Hungary underneath the border fence on the Hungarian - Serbian border near Roszke. (AP)
Syrian refugees cross into Hungary underneath the border fence on the Hungarian - Serbian border near Roszke. (AP)

Record numbers of migrants are entering Hungary as a fence being built on the country's border with Serbia is proving futile.

Police said 2,533 migrants were detained on Tuesday, up from 2,093 on Monday and by far the highest figure of the year.

After requesting asylum and registering with authorities, migrants are sent to one of Hungary's refugee centres but most try to leave for richer EU countries like Germany or Sweden.

Scores of migrants were seen on Tuesday morning near the border town of Roszke, climbing over or crawling under the barbed wire to enter Hungary - just as they had done at the Greek-Macedonia border.

Police used tear gas to break up clashes involving about 200 migrants as the registration process was delayed by the growing number of arrivals.

Some 1,302 migrants had been detained at the southern border with Serbia by 7.30am, according to police.

Authorities have promised further steps to try to secure the border.

Karoly Papp, Hungary's national police chief, said six police units of 2,106 "border hunters" would be deployed from September 15, with helicopters, police dogs and patrols on horseback taking part in the security efforts along the border.

"The organisation, equipment and great mobility of the border guard units ... will decrease the security risks caused by the massive illegal migration," he said, adding that water cannons would also be sent to Szeged, the largest city in the Hungarian-Serbian border zone.

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