Report says Berlin a hub for Vietnamese traffickers

Berlin has developed into a European centre for Vietnamese human traffickers, prompting German and French authorities to set up a joint group to combat crime, a German magazine has reported.

Report says Berlin a hub for Vietnamese traffickers

German news magazine Focus said that the joint Franco-German investigation team would include two Berlin state prosecutors, five officers of Germany’s criminal police, three investigators from Germany’s federal police and an equal number of French experts.

The team is to combat Vietnamese human traffickers who have made Berlin a European hub for their business deals, the magazine reported, quoting unnamed security sources.

Berlin state prosecution authorities estimate that more than 1,000 Vietnamese nationals are smuggled each over year to Berlin via China, Russia, Belarus, Poland and the Czech Republic. From Berlin, they are then smuggled via Calais and through the Eurotunnel to Britain.

The report said that many of the Vietnamese were made to work on roofed plantations in Britain growing illegal marijuana to pay off their travel costs.


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.