Kurdish protesters take over another boat

Supporters of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) took control of a pleasure boat in Hamburg on Thursday, in the second such incident in Germany in the last week.

Kurdish protesters take over another boat
Photo: DPA

No-one was injured, and police soon arrived at the boat and arrested four women and five men, police said later that day. They did not say whether the group was armed.

Around 60 passengers were on the ferry travelling down the Elbe river on Thursday afternoon, when a group of PKK supporters came aboard, waving a flag bearing a picture of the head of the movement – Abdullah Öcalan – who is currently serving a lifelong prison sentence in Turkey.

A number of PKK supporters managed to sneak onto the boat without arousing suspicion, and it was only when it was moving did they surround the captain and demand that he not return to the harbour.

Police arrived soon afterwards and pulled up alongside the ferry, enabling the passengers to leave via a walkway between the two boats.

The hijacking is the second in less than seven days, after another group of PKK supporters took charge of a leisure cruiser on the Rhine in Cologne on Sunday.

The pleasure boat was on a tranquil, Sunday afternoon cruise when suddenly half the approximately 20 passengers turned out to be Kurdish activists in disguise and insisted that they read their manifesto, through loudspeakers.

State security officials are investigating Thursday’s incident.

The PKK is fighting an armed struggle in eastern Turkey in an attempt to establish an autonomous Kurdistan and greater rights for Kurds in Turkey. It is listed as a terrorist organisation by the US and the European Union.

DPA/The Local/jcw

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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.

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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