New Anti-Terrorism centre detains over 50 criminals in six months, says director

Budapest, February 25 (MTI) – Hungary’s Anti-Terrorism Centre (TEK) has detained more than 50 highly dangerous armed criminals since the start of operations last autumn, the centre’s director told MTI on Friday in an interview, assessing work of the past five months.

The centre, which reports to the interior ministry, works in close cooperation with the police and has carried out 50 successful operations leading to the arrest of armed perpetrators of violent crimes, said Janos Hajdu.

    Since the 1970s, Hungary had managed counter-terrorism operations within the police and secret services but in a fragmented structure, said Hajdu.

    With the increasing threat of terrorism after 9/11 in the United States and bombings in Madrid and London it has become an EU requirement for each member state to have an organisation set up with a clean profile of combating terrorism, he added.

    Several countries in Europe are exposed to terrorism threats, and TEK, too, must stay prepared to provide help by preventing potential terrorists from using Hungary as an escape route; harbouring in the country, launching operations or keeping money in accounts,” the director added.

    Hajdu, a former senior law enforcement official, said that providing protection for the president and the prime minister were also among TEK’s responsibilities.

    TEK operates on an annual budget of 13 billion forints (EUR 47m) and a staff of 750-800 officers with jobs for another 200, said Hajdu.