Runaway boy drives dad’s Merc across Europe

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Human rights advocates are denouncing what they say is Italy's repeated practice of summarily sending back unaccompanied migrant children and adult asylum seekers to face often appalling conditions in Greece.

Rome - A 13-year-old boy ran away from his adoptive parents in Italy, taking his father's Mercedes and driving 1 000km towards his native Poland before being stopped in Germany.

The boy - a go-kart enthusiast - managed to pass motorway toll booths and cross two international borders in his two-day drive across northern Italy, Austria and half of Germany.

“He looks like a 16-year-old, but still! He managed to fuel up and pass two borders. It's just incredible,” Eleonora Spadati, head of local Carabinieri police in Montebelluna in northeast Italy where the boy ran from, said on Saturday.

Spadati said the boy missed Poland and wanted to see his biological sister.

Just before leaving on Thursday with just 200 euros (about R2300) in his pocket and a passport, he had also argued with his parents after they confiscated his cellphone as a punishment for topping up its credit without their consent.

The boy's parents quickly realised their son might have tried to go to Poland and contacted local Italian police, asking for an alert along his possible route.

German traffic police picked him up just 200 kilometres from the Polish border on Friday.

Spadati said she had been contacted by the Polish consulate asking after the boy, and social workers will increase checks on the family once they return to Italy on Sunday. - Sapa-AFP


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