In 2012, the asylum seeker fled Daraa in Syria, where he had been working as a cook in a restaurant. Anti-government protests in Daraa are said to have triggered the beginning of the Syrian uprising in 2011. Both his parents were killed in the conflict.
After escaping from Syria, he embarked on a dangerous journey through Jordan, Egypt, Libya, sailed on a dinghy to Italy, then travelled to France, finally reaching the UK last year and claiming asylum. He is in Home Office accommodation in east London and is given £36.95 per week to live on. Asylum seekers are not allowed to work.
So, basically, he entered the country illegally. He should be grateful he wasn't simply put on the next plane home.
The man thought he was safe when he reached the UK – but when he dropped the cigarette butt outside North Acton station on 27 October he unwittingly jeopardised his asylum claim.
As soon as he stubbed out his cigarette he was approached by an officer from private security company Kingdom Security and issued with an on-the-spot £80 fixed penalty notice (FPN) from Ealing council.
He speaks only a few words of English and was bewildered by the fine as he had no idea he had committed an offence. He was distraught as he had no means of paying it within the 14-day deadline.
“Even if I starved for two weeks and used all the money I get from the Home Office for food to pay this fine I would still be £6.10 short of paying it off,” he said...
I thought you lived hand to mouth on a pittance...?
So, either his command of English miraculously improved, or he had an interpreter to hand, then.
I presume he has such good English because he worked in the Damascus Fish N Chip Parlour (Slogan: Cod help us) which would explain why he illegally passed through several safe countries to be here, at the spiritual home of fish and chips.
"...or he had an interpreter to hand, then."
All paid for! By mugs.
"...which would explain why he illegally passed through several safe countries to be here..."
They always do, don't they?
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