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FOOTBALL

Hooliganism on the rise, police say

Violence and crime associated with football games in Germany’s first and second divisions of the Bundesliga have reached a new high, a media report said Tuesday.

Hooliganism on the rise, police say
Photo: DPA

Police filed criminal charges against 6,043 fans of the country’s 36 professional clubs last year, according to a new report by the ZIS central information post for sports operations cited by daily Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

In nearly one in four of these cases, physical harm was a factor, the paper said. The number of injuries that happened around games in both leagues rose to 784 – the highest number in 12 years. In the previous season there were 579 injuries.

Property damage, disturbing the peace and civil disorder were also frequent violations.

According to police officials, the circle of “violent, violence-prone or violence-seeking fans” has grown significantly, the paper said. They estimate that current numbers of such fans have reached 8,765, about 855 more than last season.

Meanwhile the number of working hours police spend at football games has reached its highest level in 12 years, up 15 percent to register 1.76 million.

These numbers would put the equivalent of 1,354 state and federal police on duty solely for football games, an expensive service for taxpayers, the paper said. The German Police Union (DPoIG) estimated that security at Bundesliga games cost €100 million in the 2009-2010 season.

DAPD/ka

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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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