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CRIME

Chinese and Russian industrial spying widespread in Germany

Chinese, Russian and Iranian spies have tried to steal industrial secrets from half of all major German firms, a state security official told Financial Times Deutschland on Friday.

Chinese and Russian industrial spying widespread in Germany
A scene from a bad German TV movie. Photo: DPA

“Every second German company has been affected, studies show,” with the loss of information valued at between €15 billion and €50 billion ($23 billion and $78 billion) a year, said Hartwig Möller, head of North Rhine-Westphalia’s intelligence agency.

“Together with the Chinese it is first and foremost Russian and Iranian intelligence agencies that are active in Germany,” Möller told the FTD.

According to a report from the BfV federal domestic intelligence service released on Thursday, foreign intelligence agencies even use students and trainees to steal sensitive information on new products and research projects.

“We have information on Chinese students and those on scholarships trying to grab any research results they can get their hands on,” Möller said.

CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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