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CRIME

‘Bad Santa’ poisons girl at Christmas market

A 15-year-old girl fell ill at a Berlin Christmas market on Saturday, bringing to eight the number of confirmed Christmas-market-poisonings this week. This time, though, the poisoner was apparently dressed as Santa Claus.

'Bad Santa' poisons girl at Christmas market
Photo: DPA

The unknown man offered the girl a paper cup containing the German spirit Schnaps at the market near Berlin’s Alexanderplatz. After drinking it, she vomited and suffered short-term memory loss.

Doctors confirmed that a substance, not yet identified, had been mixed into the drink.

It is unclear whether the poisoner was the same man who poisoned at least seven people in various Christmas markets around Berlin this week.

The man was first seen at a market in the capital’s Charlottenburg district, where he told two foreign visitors he was a new father and wanted to celebrate by offering them free drinks of alcohol, Der Tagesspiegel newspaper reported on Friday.

Police said the victims may have been given a mixture of alcohol and so-called “knockout drops” meant to render people unconscious so they can be robbed or sexually assaulted.

Police are now searching for a slim man in his mid-40s, about 1.8 metres tall with short, dark blond hair.

DAPD/The Local/bk

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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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