EUROPOL 15th January 2019 – An organised criminal group recruiting dozens of women into sham marriages was detected and dismantled by Belgian and Portuguese authorities, with the active support of Europol and Eurojust. Altogether 17 suspects were arrested today in Belgium and 3 in Portugal in an internationally coordinated action day.

The criminal group was involved in the facilitation of illegal immigration by organising sham marriages, predominately between Portuguese and Pakistani nationals. Portuguese women were recruited to marry Pakistani men they had never met and in return, received several thousands of euros. The couples then travelled to Belgium, where the wives were soon employed by (believed to be bogus) Belgian companies. By purchasing shares in the companies, this allowed the husbands to stay in the EU, obtain resident permits and then profit unjustly from social and other benefits. The shares were later transferred between the wives, allowing new recruits to become partners of the companies. The women usually travelled back to Portugal and would occasionally return to Belgium for police and immigration checks.

The investigation started in Belgium by the Belgian Federal Police in 2015 after authorities discovered a suspicious increase in the number of mixed marriage certificates in Ieper (Belgium). Due to the international nature of the crime, a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was set up which culminated in a Joint Action Day today, 15 January 2019. Today’s operation was conducted simultaneously in Ieper and Brussels and in Lisbon and Algarve (Portugal). To facilitate direct cooperation, Belgian officers were present in Portugal while their Portuguese counterparts from the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) travelled to Belgium. In Belgium, 18 house searches were carried out and 43 irregular migrants were discovered, mostly of Pakistani origin. Counterfeit documents and mobile devices were seized for further investigation. In Portugal, law enforcement arrested three suspects, searched nine houses and seized various pieces of technological equipment (laptops, desktops and other mobile devices).

Europol supported the joint operation on-the-spot at the coordination centre set up at Eurojust. Europol analysts were also deployed to Belgium and Portugal for real-time information cross-checks and mobile phone forensics. This coordinated international cooperation proved very useful in the dismantling of this criminal network.



The Minister of Home Affairs said that firefighters will have “a stronger role” in Civil Protection structures and expressed hope that negotiations with the Fireman’s League (LBP) will be completed by the end of January.

Eduardo Cabrita said that “there is a reinforced role that is intended to be attributed to the participation of firefighters in this structure and a respect for the organisational autonomy” of the humanitarian associations, which are currently around 450.

“What is foreseen is the existence of a fire brigade integrated in the ANPC, with an autonomous budget that transparently reflects the financial relationship with the fire brigades. Also in the decision of the person in charge of this structure, the LBP has a word to say “in the profile that will” condition the recruitment process, “as well as compulsorily being heard in the designation of the person responsible for this national fire department,” he explained.

Eduardo Cabrita also said that the LBP will also have “a word to say in the professional content and in the mission of those in charge of the territorial structure of Civil Protection.”

The minister stressed that the “experience of command of fire brigades” will be “an indispensable requirement to compete for the functions that succeed what today are the second district commanders of Civil Protection.”

He stressed that it will be “strengthened and clarified what the powers of the current National Fire Brigade Council are.”

During the commission, Eduardo Cabrita was questioned by several MPs about the future organic law of the ANPC and about the LBP’s challenge, which in December, for 10 days, failed to communicate operational information to district relief operations (CDOS) of protest.

At the end of December, the LBP suspended the measures until March due to the opening of the Government to negotiate.

Eduardo Cabrita stressed that the effective dialogue allowed the clarification of questions about the organic law of ANPC.

“The proposal was approved for public consultation on October 25, but there have been some misunderstandings that are happily overcome. We will not be in full agreement on everything. These dialogue processes have these characteristics, but I think there is a frank opening for dialogue, “the minister said.

The League claims a national independent fire department with its own budget, a self-contained fire department and the firefighter’s social card.



The Macau Police Judiciary (PJ) has announced the arrest of 37 people for allegedly introducing automatic payment terminals at the Union Pay financial institution in Macao, which would allow them to illegally raise money using cards from mainland China

According to the portal Macau News, PJ spokesman Leng Kam Lon said on Wednesday that about 1.2 billion yuan (153 million euros) was illegally raised through this scheme.

According to PJ, the financial institution will have lost almost 2.4 million yuan (about 305 thousand euros) with this criminal practice.

The modifications to the automatic payment terminals of the Union Pay financial institution would aim to raise large sums of money to be played in the territory’s casinos and thus pay less fees during the transaction.

According to Leng, 21 people were arrested in Macau on Monday, while another 16 were detained in several mainland cities on the same day.

During the search, several automatic payment terminals and about five million Hong Kong dollars (555,000 euros) in cash were seized.

Macau News portal also reported that the PJ froze about 25 million Hong Kong dollars (2.8 million euros) in VIP gaming rooms in one of the territory’s casinos.





The Judiciary Police have detained three men with links to an international criminal organization in Lisbon on Thursday when they tried to obtain 150,000 euros that resulted from computer frauds and were being laundered by Portuguese banks.

According to the director of the National Unit for Combating Cybercrime and Technological Crime (UNC3T), Carlos Cabreiro, this is an organized criminal group originating in Latvia that carries out computer frauds (violating user name and access code), removing money from bank accounts and making it pass through accounts in various countries, to disguise its origin.

The men – aged 22-39 – were arrested on Thursday caught in the act as they tried to obtain 150,000 euros from bank branches in Lisbon.

“We were aware of the possibility of these individuals moving to bank branches where they had opened accounts and this allowed their interception followed by detention,” said Carlos Cabreiro in a statement to reporters at the PJ’s Lisbon headquarters.

In the scope of this operation were also domiciliary searches undertaken in which falsified foreign identification documents and bank documentation were seized related to the illegal activities they undertook.

The Judiciary Police is pursuing investigations to ascertain the extent of criminal activity.

Men will be present today in court for interrogation and enforcement.


A woman in her early thirties from the Estreito de Câmara de Lobos tried to end her life yesterday 8th January 2019.

However the timely intervention of the PSP and the firefighters prevented the tragic outcome. The woman was transported to Dr. Nélio Mendonça Hospital, where she was delivered to medical care.


The Metropolitan Command of Lisbon of the Public Security Police – Lisbon Transit Division, follows an effective and preventive road safety policy, which aims at reducing infractions and, consequently, reducing the number of road accidents, reports:

Until next Sunday 13th January the Division will focus its road inspection actions on detection of speeding drivers throughout the metropolitan area of ​​Lisbon.

Excess speed is provided for in article 27 of the Road Code, with a fine up to € 2,500, an accessory penalty up to two years, and a maximum of four points deducted from the driving license of the offender.

It should be noted that this incidence of surveillance only implies special attention to this type of infraction, however this police will not fail to enforce any other types of driving offences detected.


The Minister of Home Affairs said on Friday 4th January that crime had a “very significant drop” in 2018, with a fall of about nine percent in the number of violent and serious crimes.

“Portugal has been recognised as one of the safest countries in the world and 2018 has reinforced this trend with a very significant downward drop, close to nine percent, of the latest figures available for violent and serious crime,” said Eduardo Cabrita.

The Minister of Home Affairs said on Friday that crime had a “very significant drop” in 2018, with a fall of about nine percent in the number of violent and serious crimes.

“Portugal has been recognized as one of the safest countries in the world and 2018 has reinforced this trend with a very significant downward drop, close to nine percent, of the last remaining non-final figures available for violent and serious crime,” said Eduardo Cabrita.


Temperatures reached 25 degrees Celsius in December.

The first two weeks of December recorded maximum spring level temperatures throughout the country, well in the vicinity of 19º C, nearly 5 degrees above usual. Precipitation was far below normal. More than half of the country is in “slight drought”.

Although, the last few days have been cold, the drop in thermometers has been felt more because last month was abnormally hot and dry. This is what the Portuguese Institute for the Sea and the Atmosphere (IPMA) shows in its December climatic summary, highlighting the return of the drought – although weak – in more than half of the country and average temperatures, which made December third hottest since 1931. In Aljezur, in the Algarve, the thermometers even reached almost summer levels on day 10: 25º C.

The first two weeks of last month (between December 1st and 12th) registered maximum spring temperatures throughout the country, well near 19º C, almost 5 degrees above normal. And it was not only the average value of the maximum temperature that was higher than usual (plus 1.33 degrees throughout the month), the average temperatures, at 10.5º, were also slightly above normal.

On the other hand, precipitation values ​​have been well under half (37%) than usual since 1931, but have nevertheless become normal this decade: in the last eight years, the value of monthly precipitation in December was always lower than normal.

This very hot and dry month has resulted in the return very close to the end of the year of the drought, which had already been left behind in November. Taking into account the low rainfall levels recorded in December, there was a weak meteorological drought south of the Tagus, which is equivalent to more than half of the territory, at the end of the month: 53.3% of the country is in the dry drought class, 13.7% in the normal class and 33% in the weak rain class.

Chaves recorded the lowest low of December (-2.8º C on the last day of the year) and Fóia, in Serra de Monchique, recorded the strongest gust of wind, 105.5 km / h.

The beginning of the year has been marked by a drop in temperatures, more pronounced in the minimum.

For this Sunday 6th January., the IPMA predicts below-zero minimums in Bragança (-2º) and Braga (-1º). Lisbon will register 4th of the minimum and 14th of maximum, while the Port will oscillate between the 4th and 16th. But on Monday, the minimum values ​​will fall even more in most of the country, with the transmontanos being especially punished by the cold, with Bragança reaching -5º and Vila Real -1º. Braga and Leiria (with -2) will also be below zero


The Bill published by the Ministry of Internal Administration establishes places of prohibition, fixes limitation of timetables and amounts of fines to be applied

The details are contained in a bill approved Thursday 3rd January 2019 by the Council of Ministers that regulates the use of drones and establishes the rules of use in the national airspace.

According to the proposal, the flight of unmanned aircraft at a distance of less than 100 meters and overflight of educational centres, diplomatic premises and places of temporary restricted access is also prohibited.

The Government further defined that the flight will be prohibited at a distance of less than 2,000 meters and the overflight of warships or ships in the service of the State.

The bill, by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, also foresees that the security forces make use of the resources that will be able to stop the operation of drones, “when the aircraft are outside the regulatory conditions and it is not possible to locate the operator “.

In the proposal are provided for misconduct in case of disobedience to the defined operating rules, namely from 300 to 600 euros for minor administrative disputes and from 2,000 to 3,500 euros for very serious misconduct when practiced by natural persons.

Among the rules of operation, the Government establishes the minimum age of 16 to operate drones, with only day flights permitted, unless authorized by the National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC).

There is also a system for monitoring alcohol influence of operators similar to that provided for drivers in the Road Code.

The bill also establishes that the operation of the drones in public space depends on the authorization of the ANAC and, in private places, of the owner, maintaining the obligation of requesting authorization for capturing aerial images to the National Aeronautical Authority.

The proposal provides for the creation of a single authorization mechanism processed through an electronic platform managed by ANAC, as well as the obligation of a certificate or license for operators, which depend on own training to be defined by ANAC.

The bill approved by the Council of Ministers establishes rules for the use of unmanned civil aircraft systems by delimiting the places where their use is free, the definition of places where their use is prohibited and places where the use depends on authorization .

According to the Government, the regulations aim to minimize the risks and give more safety in their use.

“As the entire authorization system, as with the registration of equipment, will be on an electronic platform, it will be possible to ensure greater control and better enforcement by the security forces in case of misuse of drones, since they will be able to consult the systems and the authorizations that will be accessible in the electronic platform “, considers the Executive.