In Haparanda, a town on the Swedish-Finnish border, asylum entrepreneur Bert Karlsson, who was reported to have made millions of kroner during the refugee crisis, opened the luxurious Cape East hotel for about 500 asylum seekers.
In the past two years, the spa-turned-into-asylum repeatedly made headlines for perpetual unrest. A fire alarm went off at the property, which has been described as the world's most luxurious. Staff was reportedly abused, while local girls and women were molested by Cape East's residents in the streets of Haparanda.
On April 21, however, East Cape will be emptied of its troublesome tenants due to the contract expiring. Resettlement to other accommodations in the municipality is already underway. Earlier this week, about 20 people moved out.
"It's been a nice hotel for me. And we have been like a family here at East Cape. Although there are people from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran… it's a great mix, but it's like we were a big family anyway," Masoud Karimi Ghaleh Gazi, who will be transferred to Piteå, told local newspaper NSD.
"All that is thrown in the container, we cannot take along to our next home. It won't fit in the van," a former Cape East resident told Fria Tider.
Earlier this spring, Hotel Tornedalia, a similar site in nearby Övertorneå, was closed. This reflects the Swedish Migration Board's policy to eliminate former hotels, where food is served. Meanwhile, procurement of hotels for accommodation is not entirely uncommon in Swedish municipalities that suffer from a severe lack of housing. According to previous estimates, Sweden, a nation of roughly 10 million, will need 710,000 new homes by 2025.
Haparanda (population 4,800) is Sweden's easternmost settlement in Norrbotten County, adjacent to Tornio, Finland.
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