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CRIME

Chinese ‘specialty cook’ trafficking ring raided

Law enforcement officers staged nationwide raids on Monday as part of an investigation into a Chinese human trafficking ring providing “specialty cooks” to restaurants across Germany.

Chinese 'specialty cook' trafficking ring raided
Photo: DPA

Some 1,330 customs officials, as well as state and federal police, collaborated to search 180 apartments and restaurants. The operation, headed by the Lower Saxony state prosecutor’s office in Hannover, is working on evidence that more than 1,000 “specialty cooks” have been brought to Germany in the last several years to work gruelling hours for meagre pay.

The raids were meant to gather evidence against three Hannover-based Chinese ringleaders, a statement from the state prosecutor said. The two men and one woman have been imprisoned on remand since March and are believed to have earned millions in euros by bringing the cooks to Germany and then faking their employment records while paying them well below the legal limit.

Among computer data and other evidence gathered, police collected assets that could be used to compensate the underpaid cooks for their damages.

The investigation focused on the Hannover region but also included the states of Hessen, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Saarland.

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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