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CRIME

Woman ‘deliberately run over’ after fight outside disco

Police in Vienna are searching for a man who deliberately ran over a young woman with his car on Sunday morning after an argument outside a disco in the Favoriten district.

Woman 'deliberately run over' after fight outside disco
The road where the woman was knocked down. Photo: ORF

The 22-year-old Serbian woman who lives in Vienna was seriously injured and is being treated in hospital. She had been dancing at the popular ‘Balkan Disco’ with friends and left at around 6:30am.

Police spokesman Christoph Pölzl said that a group of men accosted her and she began arguing with them, but one of the men wouldn’t leave her alone. A friend of hers tried to defuse the situation and suggested they go home.

The woman began walking towards a nearby bus stop with her friend, but one of the men she had been rowing with got into his car and followed her at high speed down the road. Eyewitnesses said that he accelerated, drove his Peugeot onto the pavement and knocked the woman over.

He then drove off at speed towards the Laxenburger Straße. Police are investigating and say the suspect could face charges of attempted murder.

The woman is being treated for a suspected fractured skull, a head injury, and a spinal injury. Doctors say she is in a stable condition but is not yet well enough to talk to the police.

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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