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CRIME

Women used ‘rape drug’ to rob men

Two female robbers who knocked their victims out with a date rape drug have been sentenced to five and four years in prison by Vienna’s Criminal Court.

A 25-year-old woman and her 37-year-old accomplice cruised bars to pick up men, drugged them with a powerful sedative, and then stole their valuables.

They had been robbing men in Vienna since 2012. They preyed on men who had had too much to drink and appeared to have a large sum of money with them.

They lured their victims away from bars with the promise of sex, went back to their homes with them, and slipped the date rape drug into their drink. Once their victim had passed out they took valuables such as laptops, mobile phones, jewellery and cash.

The younger woman was identified as the main culprit, and was found guilty of carrying out six robberies. Her older accomplice, the sister of her partner, was found guilty of four robberies.

In a few of the robberies the women picked up men in betting shops, where they were playing arcade games. They would buy the man a drink and then invite him to have sex in the toilet – where they would steal his cash as soon as his trousers were down.

In one case a young man was robbed of €1,000 in this way. “By the time I realized what was happening my wallet was gone and so was the woman,” one victim said.

Both women grew up in poverty in Slovakia, and said that their sole motivation for the crimes was to make money. 

"I don’t have a job so I tried to make money as a prostitute," the 25-year-old told the judge. However, as her clients would only pay her €20 or €30 for sex, she came up with the idea of drugging them and then taking their money.

The women were arrested after their DNA was found on cigarettes and glasses in the mens' apartments. In one case, one of the women even left her shoes behind.

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LIVING IN AUSTRIA

What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

It’s always good to know your legal rights when living as a foreigner in Austria - including if you get in trouble with the police.

What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

Getting arrested is probably not high up on a list of must-dos for international residents in Austria, but it’s not a bad idea to know what would happen if you did.

In a nutshell, the process in Austria is similar to most other countries in that you have to be suspected of committing a crime to be arrested.

But what happens next? What are your rights? And how long can someone be held in custody?

Here’s what you need to know.

FOR MEMBERS: EXPLAINED: What cyclists and drivers in Austria need to know about new rules

When can someone be arrested in Austria?

If someone is suspected of being a criminal, they can be arrested by the police and taken to a police station for questioning. 

Under the Austrian Code of Criminal Procedure, suspects must be informed of their rights as soon as possible, or at the very least before being interrogated by the police.

They also have a right to remain silent or to make a statement, as well as consult a lawyer.

According to Vienna-based attorney Evert Vastenburg, the initial detainment after arrest can last up to 48 hours while a judge decides whether a person should remain in custody or not.

A suspect can then be released on bail or under certain conditions, such as handing over a passport to police.

However, those suspected of serious crimes that typically lead to a prison sentence of 10 years or more (if found guilty) are almost always remanded in custody.

READ MORE: Austria wary of cyber attacks after personal data of foreign residents leaked online

When is someone remanded in custody?

To be refused bail and remanded in custody, there must be serious suspicion that another crime could be committed. 

The judge also must believe there is no other way to deal with the suspect. For example, he/she needs to be readily available to the authorities for questioning.

Another valid reason to keep someone in custody past the initial 48 hours is the risk of someone absconding. In fact, Vastenburg says a flight risk is often assumed with people that do not live and work in Austria.

Other reasons to deny a suspect release are a risk that evidence will be destroyed, witnesses will be contacted, or there is a possibility that further crimes will be committed.

What happens if bail is denied?

If bail is denied and a person must be held in custody for more than 48 hours, they have to be legally represented by a lawyer.

If a suspect can’t afford to hire a lawyer, they will be appointed a Verfahrenshilfe (public defender) by the state.

The case will be then reviewed by a judge on a regular basis to decide if custody should continue.

The first review will take place after 14 days, then at one month and every two months, but a suspect can petition for release at any time.

READ ALSO: Six tourist scams to be aware of in Austria

How many foreigners are in Austrian prisons?

According to data from the Austrian Judiciary, the number of foreigners in Austrian jails as of June 1st 2022 was 4,332 – almost 50 percent of all prisoners.

In relation to the statistics, the Austrian Judiciary states: “The high proportion of foreigners is one of many challenges for the Austrian penal system. 

“In particular, with regard to successful rehabilitation, the fastest possible transfer to the countries of origin is encouraged.

The most common nationality of foreign prisoners in Austria is Romanian, followed by people from the former Yugoslavian states, Hungary, Nigeria and Turkey.

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