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CRIME

Fake bomb sent to Hesse state premier Koch

A fake pipe bomb was mailed to the office of Roland Koch, the conservative premier of Hesse. The group taking responsibility for the threat said they were protesting remarks Koch made about tightening welfare rules.

Fake bomb sent to Hesse state premier Koch
Photo: DPA

The spokesman for the Hessian state government said on Friday that the fake bomb sent to the chancellery in Wiesbaden did not have any explosive material in it, but that authorities were taking the case “very seriously.”

A group calling itself the “Morning Light Movement” claimed responsibility for the threat, saying it was a response to Koch’s recent demands that those receiving Germany’s Hartz IV welfare benefits should be pushed harder to work.

The group warned if Koch that if he repeated his remarks, a real bomb would be detonated “somewhere near your properties.”

State authorities have launched an investigation, according to spokesman Dirk Metz.

The group behind the threat was unknown until last fall when it took responsibility for two arson attacks on banks in Frankfurt.

A conservative hard-liner, Koch has become a polarising figure in his state in recent years. Voters punished his Christian Democrats during an election in 2008 after he started a controversial campaign against young immigrants, but his image was first seriously tarnished for his involvement in a party slush fund scandal in 2000.

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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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