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CRIME

Guard accused of helping with prison breakout

Police have arrested a prison guard on suspicion he helped in the dramatic escape of two violent inmates from the maximum-security Aachen jail, authorities announced Saturday, as the hunt for the two men continued.

Guard accused of helping with prison breakout
Heckhoff (left) and Michalski. Photo: DPA

The 40-year-old guard is suspected of having helped the men get through locked areas and providing them with loaded prison service weapons as well as ammunition, according to statement by the state chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Investigators were alerted to the guard’s involvement when they watched video recordings of the breakout, the statement said.

Peter Paul Michalski, 46, and Michael Heckhoff, 50, were still on the run late Saturday after escaping Thursday from a prison at Aachen, southwest of Düsseldorf, where they were serving sentences for murder and attempted murder.

They attacked a prison warder and a porter before fleeing in a taxi for Cologne, where they hijacked a car driven by a 19-year-old female student.

Running out of fuel late Friday, they abandoned the car and its driver and disappeared, police said.

Police had set up roadblocks Saturday around the western city of Essen in the hunt for two jail-breakers, who were said to be armed and dangerous.

The guard under suspicion was in custody as investigations continued, the North-Rhine Westphalia Justice Ministry announced.

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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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