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CRIME

Arson suspected in 30-car harbour fire

Police are investigating Saturday’s fire at Hamburg’s port, in which 30 cars were destroyed, as a case of arson, according to a spokesman. No one was injured in the blaze, but losses are estimated at €1.5 million.

Arson suspected in 30-car harbour fire
Photo: DPA

The cars involved in the fire were brand-new Volkswagen Golf models scheduled for export. Six double-decker train cars were also damaged.

“Our fire investigators were at the scene,” police stated a few hours after the fire, though they said the cause of the fire was initially unclear. “We now assume it’s arson.”

The fire broke out at the Hamburg-Süd port railway on Veddeler Damm after two wagons on parallel tracks caught on fire. Initial findings suggest that the person or persons involved intentionally set fire to a car in one of the transport trains.

A signal box worker noticed heavy smoke at 3:46 a.m. early on Saturday and alerted the fire department, which sent 69 firefighters to the scene.

“We fought the fire with water and foam,” a spokesman for the squad said, adding that firefighters were able to prevent the flames from spreading to another – albeit empty – rail car. “The whole operation lasted about three-and-a-half hours.”

Between 80 and 100 automobiles have been set on fire in similar incidents that have occurred around the city this year. To bring the situation under control, police have dispatched a group of 100 additional plainclothes police officers to conduct nightly patrols.

But the latest incident was described as a “completely atypical case.”

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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