Gang of geriatric kidnappers arrested

Police have arrested five elderly people accused of being vicious kidnappers who were holding a middle-aged man in a cellar, allegedly trying to extort money with menaces.

Gang of geriatric kidnappers arrested
Photo: DPA

The formal arrest of one couple aged 74 and 79, another aged 63 and 66, plus a 60-year-old American, came after police commandos stormed the cellar of a property in southern Germany at dawn on Saturday to find the kidnapped 56-year-old man.

Police said they believed the man, who was reported missing last week in Speyer near Heidelberg, was ambushed and assaulted by the American and the 79-year-old, bound up with tape and bundled into the boot of a car.

He was then driven more than 450 kilometres (280 miles) early Wednesday to Chieming near the Austrian border and imprisoned in a cellar for four days.

“He was obviously beaten as well, sustaining bruises and two broken ribs,” Chieming police said in a statement. “An attempt to escape during a ‘cigarette break’ went wrong.”

Investigators said they believed that demands for money were behind the kidnapping, and that allowing the 56-year-old to make a phone call in this regard proved to be the gang’s undoing.

“The man managed to alert the person who we suspect tipped us off as to his precarious situation and his whereabouts. This was the crucial point for the police operation and its successful outcome,” they said.

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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