Funeral home ‘sold dead people’s passports’

UPDATE: Police raided a funeral home and 18 other properties across Berlin on Thursday morning to crackdown on a gang suspected of selling the passports of the dead to people smugglers.

Funeral home 'sold dead people's passports'
The passports found in the raids on Thursday. Photo: DPA

Officers said they found 50 passports at one funeral home in Neukölln. They suspect the funeral director sold the documents of dead people to people smugglers for between €2,000 and €5,000. The smugglers then sold them to refugees and immigrants.

The 49-year-old funeral director is suspected alongside three over people although no arrests have yet been made.

Alongside the German passports police also found documents from Egypt, Morocco and Lebanon.

“It’s a brand new method which we haven’t seen in Germany before,” said Frank Worm from Berlin Police.

Around 120 officers took part in the raids in an operation called Funeral. Police said 19 properties in the Neukölln, Kreuzberg and Schöneberg districts of the city, including homes and offices of funeral directors had been searched.

Prosecutors are investigating nine cases as part of the operation dating back to 2010 and the majority of the cases are linked to Syria. 

SEE ALSO: Masked man faces life for attacking millionaires

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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.