Scales of justice: mackerel mafiosi jailed

Three men have been jailed after a fish sandwich war ran out of control in northern Germany and resulted in serious violence.

Scales of justice: mackerel mafiosi jailed
Photo: DPA

Munching on a bread roll filled with eel or pickled herring is practically mandatory during a visit to the German Baltic coast.

Smoking and serving the snacks to tourists is a money-spinning business in Stralsund – so much that the trade became dominated by what locals dubbed the mackerel-Mafia, the Berliner Zeitung reported on Thursday.

Those in control of the trade seemingly took offence at plans by Stralsund’s deputy mayor to consider new rules about distributing harbour fish sandwich trading concessions last summer.

Dieter Hartlieb was beaten up outside his house and needed hospital treatment to injuries to his head and legs. A fake bomb was later left in the planning office where he worked, along with a letter which called him corrupt and told him to leave office. He has been under police protection ever since.

He told the trial of three men at Stralsund’s district court that he would have had no influence over who got the licenses to sell the fish sandwiches, but that he was simply working on the rules of how it was to work.

A 34-year-old was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for instigating grievous bodily harm, while a 29-year-old was jailed for three years for a number of offences including the physical attack on Hartlieb.

A 33-year-old man was jailed for two-and-a-half years for arson attacks against a fish sandwich boat and a car, both of which were owned by a hotelier who was planning to enter the business.

Questions remain about who may have been behind the attack, the paper said, although further charges have been made against another man.

The Local/hc

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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.

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