Paedophile ring used girl, 5, to entice victims

Eleven people arrested on Saturday for running an international paedophile ring have been released. The group is accused of distributing child porn as well as using a five-year-old girl to entice victims.

Paedophile ring used girl, 5, to entice victims
A street in Aschersleben is sealed off during the arrests on Saturday. Photo: DPA

Police arrested ten men aged 22 to 60 and one 53-year-old woman on Saturday evening in Saxony-Anhalt on suspicion of being core members of a paedophile ring. All have been questioned and released as no charges have been filed against them yet.

Magdeburg police spokesman Holger Herrmann told reporters on Monday the suspects were accused of owning and distributing child pornography, in addition to the ring's other alleged criminal activity.

They used a five-year-old to attempt to make contact with other children at a playpark, police said on Monday.

Despite the group being "extremely discreet and careful", investigators discovered it met once a year to exchange contacts and plan alleged illegal acts.

Officers made the arrests after a raid on the group's annual gathering at the town of Aschersleben, police in the central Saxony-Anhalt region said on Sunday.

Saturday's raid involved around 150 officers and 20 vehicles.  

The alleged ringleaders come from Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, North Rhine-Westphalia and Switzerland, and three of them have previous convictions for related offences.

The group is believed to have mainly conducted its activities online after investigators seized computers, communications equipment and hard drives belonging to the suspects.

Rainier Wendt, chairman of the German Police Union, told Bild newspaper he saw the arrests as a great success.

"The detectives must be pretty expert, because investigating on the web is no easy task," he said.

SEE ALSO: Child murderer, 46, jailed as a minor

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Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.