Monday, 9 September 2019

Statistical Data Don’t Support Rising Violence Claims

ZAGREB, September 9, 2019 - Statistical data by the Interior Ministry, the Human Rights Ombudswoman and the Serb National Council (SNV) do not support the argument that ethnic violence in Croatia is on the rise, Vecernji List daily said on Monday.

Last year, the police registered 33 hate crimes, the State Prosecutor's Office (DORH) prosecuted 53 and eight convictions were handed down. In 2013, under the Zoran Milanović cabinet, the Interior Ministry registered 35 cases and DORH prosecuted 57, while in 2016, under the Tihomir Orešković cabinet, the Interior Ministry registered 35 cases and DORH prosecuted 37.

Taking population size into account, it is evident that Croatia is ranked among those countries with fewer hate crimes, the daily said. It could also possible thought that there is a higher number of crimes reported in some Western countries and fewer in others, including Croatia, as a consequence of the trust, or lack thereof, in the authorities or the ability, or failure, to identify hate crimes.

But in DORH's annual report, the higher number of dismissed reports is seen as a result of the fact that frequently unacceptable, impassioned and uncivil public statements are interpreted as hate speech, resulting in criminal complaints although they are "just" a case of slander or insult, misdemeanour, sometimes even non-punishable behaviour.

The human rights ombudswoman's data on discrimination complaints on racial or ethnic grounds do not support the argument that violence is on the rise either. There were 66 such complaints last year, up from 47 in 2017, but down from 117 in 2016. Sixty such complaints were filed in 2012 and 68 in 2015.

SNV data on incidents involving intolerance towards Serbs show that 82 were reported in 2014, 189 in 2015, 331 in 2016, 393 in 2017 and 381 in 2018 but, Vecernji List said, the SNV noted that it had changed its methodology.

Interior Ministry data on crimes prosecuted ex officio show they decreased by 32% between 2011 and 2018, with an increase recorded only in 2015.

More Politics news can be found in the dedicated section.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Former HDZ MP Remanded in Custody Following Rape Allegations

ZAGREB, September 6, 2019 - Damir Škaro, a former HDZ member of Parliament, Olympic bronze medallist and current president of Automobile Club Siget, has been remanded in 30-day investigative detention following allegations of rape and sexual harassment by an Automobile Club employee, a Velika Gorica County Court investigating judge ruled on Thursday.

The detention order was issued because he might try to interfere with witnesses and repeat the crime, court spokesman Ante Zeljko told Hina.

According to unofficial sources, Škaro might try to interfere with four witnesses - three women who complained to a legal officer at the Croatian Automobile Club about sexual harassment and a man through whom Škaro offered the victim money so that she would not report him.

Škaro was arrested on Wednesday morning at a border crossing while entering Croatia from Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was reported by a doctor whom the victim told she had been raped early in August. The victim later reported Škaro for threat as well.

More crime news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Eight Arrested for Uzdolje Attack

ZAGREB, August 28, 2019 - Police have arrested eight persons suspected on participating in Uzdolje near Knin on August 21 in an attack against the patrons of a bar who were watching a football game between Serbia's Red Star and Switzerland's Young Boys, Šibenik county police said on Wednesday.

The eight persons accused of rioting are from the Split area, police said, adding that more would be revealed after an investigation was completed. The perpetrators face from six months to five years in prison.

The media recall that two attacks were committed last Wednesday on Serb bar patrons watching the game, one in Uzdolje and one in Đevrske. The perpetrators in Đevrske, two men aged 25 and 28, insulted the patrons on ethnic grounds but were soon arrested as the owner of the bar and the patrons identified them.

The attack in Uzdolje was more serious and apparently organised. A dozen persons wearing ski masks allegedly entered the bar with clubs and a machete, destroying the premises and injuring the patrons, Jutarnji List daily said.

More news about the incidents can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Croatian Police Commended over Frontex Training Programme

ZAGREB, August 16, 2019 - Croatian police officers were commended for organising and implementing the Land Border Surveillance Officer Frontex training programme taking place in Sankt Augustin, Germany, on August 11-18 and involving EU member-countries currently faced with the problem of migrant crisis, the Croatian Police Directorate said on Friday.

The programme is designed to prepare police forces of EU member-countries for participation in international operations which are aimed at strengthening internal border control within the Schengen area and the protection of the EU's external borders.

This is the third time the Croatian Police Academy, a partner to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), participated in training in Germany, at whose request the training programme was organised.

The programme was based on workshops on police conduct at border crossings, the treatment of asylum seekers and migrants in need of medical help, and the treatment of illegal migrants caught in the EU.

It was attended by 18 border police officers from Germany, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Lithuania and Croatia.

More news about the police can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Chinese Police Officers Conclude Participation in “Safe Tourist Season 2019” Project

ZAGREB, August 14, 2019 - Eight Chinese police officers, who were deployed in the areas of four Croatian police departments from July 13 to August 14, on Wednesday ended their participation in the "Safe Tourist Season 2019" project, as part of which police officers from countries that generate most foreign visits in Croatia help during the summer their Croatian colleagues in providing for security on the Adriatic coast.

The State Secretary at the Tourism Ministry, Tonči Glavina, thanked Chinese police officers for their participation in the project and for helping show that Croatia is a safe country.

There were no reports of incidents during the stay of the Chinese police officers and their joint patrols with Croatian police, and their presence had a positive effect on Chinese tourists, who approached them for information, as confirmed by the head of the Chinese team, Xue Qiang, who said that Chinese police officers had also visited Chinese citizens living in Croatia and praised the project as having strengthened the two countries' friendship and cooperation.

Velimir Tišma, head of the sector for crime prevention of the Zagreb City Police Department, said that dozens of thousands of Chinese tourists visited Zagreb every year and that police worked continually on the safety of tourists in the capital, which included additional police training.

He recalled that Croatian police had made, in cooperation with Chinese police, a leaflet in the Croatian and Chinese languages, to be distributed as of next season to Chinese tourists throughout the country, with useful information on self-protective behaviour.

Deputy Chief Police Director Josip Ćelić said that the project helped build strong partnerships, improved the quality of police services and boosted the confidence of Croatian citizens and foreign visitors in Croatian police.

The eight Chinese police officers were deployed in Dubrovnik-Neretva, Lika-Senj, Zadar and Zagreb counties.

China is the first Asian country to join in this project and 2019 was the second consecutive year that Chinese police officers visited Croatia as part of the project, which involved 95 police officers from 19 countries this year.

More news about Croatian tourism can be found in the Travel section.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Police Launches Probe after Doctor's Refusal to Give Them Driver's Medical Records

ZAGREB, August 14, 2019 - The Interior Ministry stated on Tuesday evening that an investigation was launched into a family doctor in the case of the drugged driver who caused the 11 July traffic accident with casualties after she refused to provide the police with medical records of her patient.

After media allegations about the doctor being fined for having failed to report the medical condition that affected the 35-year-old man`s driving ability, the police find it necessary to clarify that the investigation had been launched against the doctor after she refused to give the police the documentation in connection with that patient, citing the medical confidentiality.

The doctor was fined 5,000 kuna.

As for the duty of doctors to report to the police changes in medical conditions of their patients that may affect their driving abilities, the police said that in 2018, they had received 821 reports of that kind and 897 in 2017.

In the first half of this year, the police received 742 reports from doctors about the change in the health condition of their patients that may affect their driving ability.

The KoHOM federation of family doctors said on Monday that it would advocate the introduction of periodic checkups for drivers to make those aged below 65 undergo medical exams every ten years and those above 65 every five years.

The federation also called on its members to report to police any change in the health condition of their patients that may affect their driving ability.

The proposal for obligatory periodic medical examinations ensued after the 11 July traffic accident in which a three-member Hungarian family was seriously injured at a toll gate on the A4 motorway near Sveta Helena when the BMW driven by the drug addict ran into them at high speed.

Several days after the accident, the office of the family doctor whose patient the driver was, was searched by the police as part of an investigation into the crash.

This prompted the federation of family doctors to recall that the legislation on traffic safety envisages that doctors are obliged to report to the police any case of inability of drivers-patients to drive safely when it is detected during a medical checkup or treatment.

The legislation, however, does not specify which medical conditions should be reported, which puts family doctors in a difficult position, underscores KoHOM, citing a long list of medical conditions that may theoretically be regarded as risks for safe driving.

More medical news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Eight Chinese Police Officers Included in Safe Tourist Season Project in Croatia

ZAGREB, July 13, 2019 - A ceremony marking the participation of eight Chinese police officers in the 2019 Safe Tourist Season was held in Zagreb's main square on Saturday.

The Chinese police will patrol together with their Croatian colleagues the most popular destinations in Croatia for Chinese guests: Zagreb, Zadar, Dubrovnik and Lika-Senj County.

The Croatian Chief of Police Nikola Milina said at the ceremony that he was satisfied with the expansion of this cooperation. Last year, six Chinese law enforcement officers were included in this project, and this year there are two more policemen from that Asian country.

The Safe Tourism Season project includes foreign police officers, and the first to join the project were Hungarian police, in 2006.

Over the years, a total of 804 police officers from 19 countries have come to Croatia during the tourist season to assist their Croatian colleagues.

Milina underscores that this season, there are a record high number of 95 police officers from a total of 19 countries.

The project has been recognised in international police forums, Interpol also recommends it as a project of the best international police practice, he said.

Chinese Ambassador Xu Erwen said the inclusion of Chinese police in the project confirmed traditional friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

More news about relations between Croatia and China can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Croatian Police Bust Organised Crime Ring in Major Operation

ZAGREB, July 7, 2019 - Croatian police on Saturday completed a comprehensive months-long investigation covering 23 suspects who had formed a criminal organisation to commit various crimes, the Ministry of the Interior said in a statement.

It is suspected that they have smuggled at least 15.7 tonnes of marijuana into Croatia in the last three years, making at least €11 million in illegal gain which they split among themselves according to their roles.

According to the statement, two chief suspects, identified only as a 37-year-old man and a 35-year-old man, set up an organised crime ring in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina between September 2016 and June 2019, linking up at least seven people, including a 43-year-old policewoman.

The purpose of this organisation was to acquire substantial financial gain by buying and selling large quantities of different narcotics. They bought marijuana from illegal producers and smugglers in Albania and Montenegro and transported it to the Ljubuški area of southern Bosnia and Herzegovina from where, with the help of the policewoman, one of the suspects smuggled it into Croatia. The drug was then dispatched to Zagreb and sold to other suspects who then supplied it to end users as decided by the two principal suspects.

Between December 2017 and the end of June 2019, the three main suspects formed a group of at least six persons in Zagreb who intimidated and physically attacked people and set their cars on fire. Police said that by using violence the suspects tried to enforce debt payments.

Twenty of the suspects are treated as members of a criminal organisation. Five of them are already in investigative custody or serving their prison terms, while the other 15 have been detained.

The investigation also covered three more persons, two of whom have committed crimes but did not operate within this criminal group, while one was cleared of suspicion.

The police said that 150 officers were involved in the investigation, conducting 34 property searches and 25 vehicle searches.

During property searches in Croatia, police seized 6.3 kilograms of marijuana, 25 grams of speed, marijuana plants, seven digital scales, two brass knuckles, a rubber truncheon, a baseball bat, an automatic rifle, two rifles, two pistols, two hand grenades, 112 bullets, 25,500 euros, 19,300 kuna, mobile phones, SIM cards, laptops, USB sticks and various documents. Also seized were a Mercedes S 63 AMG, a Porsche Cayenne, a BMW 740d and two vessels.

Four rifles, including three automatic ones, were seized during searches of the properties of two suspects who live in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

More police news can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Six Korean Police Officers to Help Croatian Colleagues During Tourism Season

ZAGREB, July 2, 2019 - Six Korean police officers will be assisting their Croatian colleagues in major tourist destinations during July and August as part of the "Safe Tourism Season" project.

"This is the first time that Korean police officers will be part of this project and they will be located in Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik. Their task is to help Croatian police officers in communication with Korean tourists," Zagreb police chief Marko Rašić said on Tuesday, presenting the 13th edition of the Safe Tourism Season project.

Considering the excellent experience with our Chinese colleagues and tourists last year, this year should be just as successful with our Korean colleagues, Rašić added.

Korean Vice-Consul Junghuyun Park expressed satisfaction that Korea had joined the project to assist Croatian police officers with Korean tourists.

The Korean Embassy in Zagreb has gladly joined this commendable project and I am sure that it will contribute to cooperation in other areas too, Park said.

Ivana Mahnić from the Zagreb Tourism Board said that Zagreb had become a very popular destination for Korean tourists and that 100,000 Koreans visited the city last year, which put them among the most numerous foreign visitors in Croatia's capital.

The Safe Tourism Season project includes foreign police officers, and the first to join the project were Hungarian police, in 2006.

Over the years, a total of 804 police officers from 19 countries came to Croatia during the tourist season to assist their Croatian colleagues.

More news about relations between Croatia and South Korea can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Police to Protect People in Areas Intersected by Migrant Routes

ZAGREB, May 10, 2019 - "We will protect people who live in areas intersected by migrant routes," the state secretary at the Ministry of the Interior, Žarko Katić, said in parliament on Friday while responding to MP Saša Đujić's question as to how police intended to guarantee security to citizens in the mountainous Gorski Kotar region and the area of Rijeka, in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, where cases of migrants breaking into family homes have become frequent.

Do people have to hire security guards, Social Democrat Đujić asked during a parliamentary debate on a private protection bill.

Katić confirmed that the migrant pressure was the greatest in Karlovac, Primorje-Gorski Kotar and Lika-Senj counties, noting that additional police forces were being sent to those counties with state-of-the-art equipment.

"The problem does exist, we are aware of it and are dealing with it in the most appropriate way, we will protect people who live in areas intersected by migrant routes," Katić said, adding that police work in the areas in question was hampered by the fact that those areas were sparsely populated.

More news about the migrant crisis can be found in the Politics section.

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