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CRIME

Politically motivated crime hits record high

A huge jump in left-wing extremist and anarchist crime has reportedly sent the number of politically motivated offences in Germany soaring to its highest level since records began.

Politically motivated crime hits record high
Photo: DPA

Citing an Interior Ministry report, daily Bild reported on Tuesday there were 33,917 politically motivated crimes committed in 2009.

Although offences committed by right-wing extremists are twice as common as those committed by the left, it is a massive jump in left-wing crime that is responsible for the new peak.

The number of left-wing extremist crimes climbed 39.4 percent to 9,375. Among those were 1,822 violent offences – a rise of 53.4 percent.

Crimes by the far right, meanwhile, fell by 4.7 percent compared with 2008, totalling 19,468. Assault is a particularly common far-right crime, the report said.

Towards the end of last year, there was a spate of far-left attacks, including notorious incidents in which perpetrators, threw Molotov cocktails, paint bombs and cobblestones at Berlin’s Treptow district Federal Criminal Police (BKA) office. Around the same time, offices for the centre-left Social Democrats and the conservative Christian Democrats were also vandalised with anti-war graffiti.

And in Hamburg, about 10 masked perpetrators attacked a police precinct in the Schanzenviertel neighbourhood, setting a police cruiser alight, damaging other police cars and breaking windows with stones.

At the time, the head of the German Police Union, Rainer Wendt, branded the attacks a “declaration of war.”

In January, Bild reported that preliminary statistics from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), indicated a drop in right-wing violent crime for the first time in six years.

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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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