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CRIME

Traffic police plan huge blitz for speeders

Drivers in north-western Germany should watch their speed on Wednesday, as two German states and the Netherlands will be launching a joint effort to crack down on speeders.

Traffic police plan huge blitz for speeders
Photo: DPA

The 24-hour crackdown will start at 6 am Wednesday, with speed checks set up at 4,000 sites, the interior ministers of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony announced at a press conference in Münster on Monday.

“Speeding doesn’t stop at state borders,” said Ralf Jäger, interior minister for North Rhine-Westphalia and a Social Democrat (SPD). “Travelling at high speeds is the killer number one everywhere.”

The interior ministers and Dutch officials said the offensive was to combat the sharp rise in the number of traffic deaths seen last year, Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) reported on Monday.

Dutch traffic police chief Fokko Klok praised the collaboration, saying it would lead to fewer deaths, NDR reported. Drivers have been under stricter surveillance in the Netherlands since September, when the top speed limit was raised from 120 to 130 kilometres per hour.

In Lower Saxony, the number of traffic deaths rose from 479 in 2010, to 540 last year, the broadcaster reported.

More than a million drivers were checked during two so-called “Blitz Marathons” this year in North Rhine-Westphalia. The operation caught 39,000 speeders – even though the control points were announced in advance.

State officials credit the campaigns with the decrease in traffic deaths over the first nine months of 2012. The number of traffic deaths decreased by 15.4 percent over the year before during that timeframe NDR reported.

DAPD/The Local/mbw

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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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