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CRIME

Neo-Nazi youth organisation banned

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble banned neo-Nazi youth group the Heimattreue Deutsche Jugend (HDJ) on Tuesday as police staged early morning raids at member homes in several states.

Neo-Nazi youth organisation banned
Photo: DPA

Government officials notified the HDJ (“German youth loyal to the homeland”), which is registered in Kiel, that the right wing extremist group is now officially dissolved, media reports said. Meanwhile police entered the homes of members in the states of Lower Saxony, Berlin and Brandenburg to confiscate club funds.

According to the Interior Ministry, the group is in violation of a club law, which says groups that violate constitutional law or go against international understanding can be banned.

“We will do everything we can to protect our children and young people from these pied pipers,” Schäuble said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that the ban would put the “the disgusting activities of the HDJ to an end.”

Germany’s decision to combat right-wing extremism in this way applies “in particular to the case of the HDJ, where youth work was abused in an effort to transform children and young people into dedicated national socialists.”

Broadcaster MDR reported that the Interior Ministry based its decision off of evidence collected in October 2008 raids which proved the group to be actively combative and therefore illegal.

Confiscated items include educational materials for children that discuss “blood purity” and the “the threat to survival of the German people by Jews and foreigners,” in addition to items that glorify the country’s Nazi past.

Founded in 1990, the HDJ is believed to have several hundred members and has been considered one the most radical neo-Nazi groups in the country.

The group is known to have drilled several hundred children in Hitler Youth-style ideology at youth camps where tents have names like “the Führer bunker.”

Interior Ministry figures show that far right extremist crime increased by up to 30 percent last year.

CRIME

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

READ ALSO: The German rules of the road that are hard to get your head around

In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners

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