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CRIME

Man dies after gang beat him up in Berlin

Police are appealing for witnesses after a young man was beaten to death by a gang in the centre of Berlin early on Sunday morning, in what appears to have been a completely unprovoked attack.

Man dies after gang beat him up in Berlin
Photo: DPA

The capital’s interior minister Frank Henkel said he was deeply shocked, and called for an honest debate about violence in Germany. “We cannot close our eyes to this problem and silently look on as brutalisation and coldness spread through our centre, and reduce inhibitions,” he said.

Although he said he wanted to increase security in the central area of the city where the attack took place, he also said the problem began in the heads of the attackers. “Some have obviously lost all civilised standards. That is a challenge for all of us,” he said.

The 20-year-old German-Vietnamese man had left a bar on Alexanderplatz with two friends at around 4 am on Sunday after a heavy night out. All three were very drunk, the Die Welt newspaper said on Monday.

Because their friend was too intoxicated to walk, his two companions sat him down on a chair in a closed beer garden and went off to find a taxi.

Within minutes the helpless man was targeted by a man who kicked the chair away from under him, the paper said.

He tried to stand up but the man punched him in the face. The police said that by the time his friends realised what was happening, seven men were attacking the prone victim, stamping on his head, inflicting serious injury and leaving him in a life-threatening condition.

He was so badly hurt that paramedics had to resuscitate him at the scene, but doctors at the hospital where he was taken said he had only a slim chance of surviving his injuries.

Police confirmed to the Tagesspiegel newspaper on Monday afternoon that the young man had died.

Initial investigations suggest the attack was unprovoked and police believe it happened out of “nothing more than pure bloodlust.”

“It appears that the attackers just wanted to kill someone,” an officer told Die Welt. “When someone is stamping on someone else’s head, as they lie on the floor, the life of another human does not matter.”

One of the victim’s friends who returned to the scene as the attack was underway tried to break it up, and was beaten up in the process, incurring minor injuries but causing the group to flee.

The Tagesspiegel newspaper said the group of attackers were thought to have come out of a Turkish party at a nearby bar. Police are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

One of the victim’s friends told Die Welt that they did not understand why the attack happened. “He has never caused harm to anyone,” he said.

The Local/jcw/hc

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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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