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CRIME

Neo-Nazi violence dropped in 2009

Police have registered a significant drop in right-wing extremist violence for 2009 compared to the previous year, daily Bild reported on Tuesday.

Neo-Nazi violence dropped in 2009
Photo: DPA

According to preliminary statistics from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), if December 2009 statistics follow the trend of the year’s first 11 months, then it will have been the first time in six year there was a reduction in right-wing violent crime.

Up until the end of November, 624 right-wing extremist crimes were registered in Germany. Compared to 682 during this time in 2008, this means a reduction of 8.5 percent, the paper said.

Meanwhile the number of victims injured in such crimes fell by 14 percent from 713 to 614, Bild reported.

But the number of neo-Nazi related crimes rose overall by 0.35 percent with the inclusion of crimes such as incitement of the people, Hitler greetings and swastika graffiti.

Compared to right-wing offences, leftist and anarchist crimes spiked by some 49.4 percent in the first three quarters of 2009 alone, the paper said.

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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