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CRIME

Thief tries to mug police officer by mistake

An unlucky thief chose the wrong person to mug when he tried to steal a wallet from the pocket of an off-duty policeman in a carriage on the Vienna underground.

Thief tries to mug police officer by mistake
Wiener Linien/ Johannes Zinner

The policeman in civilian clothing had spotted the thief as he tried to sneakily pull out the wallet from the back pocket of his trousers.

He had grabbed hold of his hand but the thief ran off the U6 train at Westbahnhof station.

He was stealthily followed by the officer, who spotted him at the station already targeting his next victims.

The policeman watched as he tried again to get hold of someone’s purse and then went in and arrested the man in front of numerous bystanders.

The suspect was reported for theft but since he is only accused of two attempts of theft he was allowed to go free for the time being, according to a police spokesperson

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CRIME

Austrian people smuggler jailed over deaths of Syrians in minivan

An Austrian court on Monday sentenced a people smuggler to seven years in prison over the deaths of two Syrians who suffocated in the crammed minivan he was driving, Austria's news agency reported.

Austrian people smuggler jailed over deaths of Syrians in minivan

The bodies of the two men were discovered last October when Austrian authorities stopped and searched a van at the border with Hungary.

Thirty people in total were crammed in the vehicle, whose driver fled the scene but was later arrested in Latvia and extradited.

The 19-year-old Latvian was found guilty of people smuggling and causing fatal injuries, but was not found guilty of murder, APA reported.

READ MORE: Austrian police warn public about new ‘fake cops’ scam

He said he would accept the verdict, but the prosecution can still appeal it, APA said.

A court spokeswoman could not immediately be reached by AFP. 

Austria’s interior ministry announced in May that police had smashed a group believed to have smuggled tens of thousands of mostly Syrians, including the two found suffocated, from Hungary to Austria.

A total of 205 people suspected to be linked to the group have been arrested in central and eastern Europe, the ministry said.

Those smuggled, including children, were trying to reach western European countries, including Germany and France.

The October discovery of the dead men recalled a dire event in August 2015 when 71 people from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan suffocated in the back of an air-tight van where they had been hidden by people smugglers.

The bodies, including those of three children and a baby, were discovered in Austria but they had died while still on the other side of the border.

Almost four years later, the Hungarian courts sentenced their smugglers to life imprisonment.

The emotion aroused by that tragedy triggered a brief opening of the borders to hundreds of thousands of people wishing to reach Western Europe.

But Austria and other European countries have since fortified borders to stop people smuggling.

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