A controversial Danish law allowing authorities to seize assets from asylum seekers was implemented for the first time this week, police said Thursday.
Police said they seized cash worth about 79,600 kroner (11,900 dollars) from five Iranian nationals apprehended Tuesday at Copenhagen Airport when trying to enter the country on forged passports.
The law, which entered into force in February, allows for asylum seekers' belongings to be searched and for cash or valuables exceeding 10,000 kroner (1,490 dollars) to be seized.
The cash and proceeds from the sale of the valuables - such as watches and mobile phones - are supposed to be used to pay for the asylum seekers' stay in Denmark.
The two men and three women, aged 26 to 35, were detained and searched. Police said they found cash in euros and US dollars worth 129,600 kroner. Police declined to offer further details.
The five applied for asylum when charged with using forged passports and the Danish Immigration Service have started to process the asylum bids.
The case vindicated the decision to introduce the legislation, Inger Stojberg, Denmark's minister for immigration and integration, said in comments carried by the news agency Ritzau.
The restrictive measures have been criticized by groups such as the Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog, concerned that the law violates fundamental property rights.
The UN refugee agency UNHCR and human rights groups, like Amnesty International, have also criticized the measures.