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CRIME

Vienna sex offender suspect arrested in Czech Republic

Police have arrested a dangerous sex offender who’s suspected of raping at least two women.

Vienna sex offender suspect arrested in Czech Republic
A police photo of the suspect. Image: BPD Wien

The 35-year-old man, who is originally from Turkey, is believed to be responsible for two violent rapes in 2013 in Znojmo in the Czech Republic. He’s also suspected of physically assaulting a woman in Vienna in 2015, as well as an attempted rape earlier this year. Police are appealing for any further victims to come forward.

The man was arrested a few days ago in the Czech Republic and extradited to Vienna, where he’s a resident. He’s been charged with four criminal offences and is being held in pretrial custody.

“The two rapes took place in April and June 2013,” police spokesman Thomas Keiblinger said. In the first case, a 19-year-old woman was assaulted on a lawn in a public space. The second victim was only 18 at the time, and she was also strangled and beaten.

In 2015 he allegedly followed a 21-year-old woman home in the Ottakring district of Vienna, where he also lives. He physically attacked her but her neighbours heard her screaming and came to her help and he fled. In August he is accused of dragging a 26-year-old woman into a bush in Ottakring and attempting to rape her. Luckily a group of people who were passing by noticed what was happening and scared him off.

Police in Vienna were able to find traces of the suspect’s DNA and track him down. One of his victims also recognised him from a photo. The accused denies all the charges.

He is described as 1.70 meters tall and slender, but strong. Detectives say he changed his appearance several times since 2013, with different hairstyles and beard lengths.

Vienna police are asking anyone who may have been assaulted by the suspect to contact them on 01/31310-33 800.


 

CRIME

Austrian police smash people smuggling ring

Police have smashed a group believed to have smuggled tens of thousands of people with two of them found suffocated in a truck last year, Austria's interior ministry announced on Thursday.

Austrian police smash people smuggling ring

A total of 205 people suspected to be linked to the group have been arrested in central and eastern Europe, while 80 vehicles have been seized, Interior Minister Gerhard Karner said.

Of the arrests, 92 of them were in Austria, and the rest in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania.

Investigators, who began looking into the case early last year, believe the group smuggled more than 36,100 people, including children, from Hungary to Austria.

With this they raked in an estimated 152 million euros ($159 million), making this the biggest operation uncovered in Austria in recent years, according to Karner.

“This is an important success against organised crime and a serious blow to the smuggler mafia,” Karner said in a statement. Those smuggled were trying to reach western European countries, including Germany and France.

They were brought to Vienna and then smuggled on through other groups, the statement said. In one incident linked to the group, the bodies of two people were discovered last October when Austrian authorities stopped and searched a van at the border with Hungary.

Twenty-seven others were crammed in the vehicle, whose driver fled the scene, but has since been arrested in Latvia and extradited, according to the ministry. In another incident in January linked to the group, an alleged smuggler fired at an army conscript when troops tried to stop his vehicle. The man has since been arrested in Hungary. Austria this week once again extended border controls on its frontiers with Hungary and Slovenia.

Such controls provide authorities “with important insights into smuggling organisations and their procedures,” Karner said.

The European Court of Justice in April criticised Austria’s long-term controls on its border to Slovenia. It ruled that EU member states can only prolong border controls when “confronted with a new serious threat affecting its public order or its internal security”.

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