Thursday, 11 April 2019

Six Korean Policemen to Take Part in "Safe Tourist Season" Project

ZAGREB, April 11, 2019 - This year, six police officers from South Korea will take part in the "Safe Tourist Season" projects, according to the Croatian Police Directorate where on Thursday a cooperation agreement was signed by South Korean National Police Chief Min Gab Ryong and Croatian Chief of Police Nikola Milina.

Zagreb, Dubrovnik and Split each will have two Korean police officers during the peak season so that their fellow citizens visiting Croatia could feel even safer.

Min Gab Ryong expressed satisfaction with the participation of the Korean police in the project, given that more than 400,000 Korean tourists have visited Croatia since the introduction of the direct flight connecting the two countries.

Since September 2018, Croatia's capital has been connected to South Korea's capital by Korean Air. Starting from September 1, 2018, Korean Air operates a direct service three times a week (Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday), flying between Seoul and Zagreb.

The project “Safe Tourist Season” is one of the many activities undertaken by the police, which has been implemented since 2006 in cooperation with police from 18 countries. Under that project, foreign police officers in the uniforms of their respective countries work together with their Croatian colleagues.

South Korea is the 19th country to be included in the project and the second Asian country after last year, six Chinese policemen were deployed in Dubrovnik.

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

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Higher Fines for Traffic Offences, Possible Seizure of Vehicles for Repeated Offenders

ZAGREB, March 28, 2019 - A bill on road traffic safety which the government sent to parliament on Thursday, envisages a significant increase in fines for traffic offences and recommends the temporary confiscation of vehicles for repeated offenders.

Presenting the bill to the government, Interior Minister Davor Božinović said that the experts from the Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences were engaged to draft this legislative proposal which is aimed at raising all traffic participants' awareness of the need to respect traffic regulations in order to reduce the number of serious offences that endanger lives on the road.

The bill proposes higher fines for traffic offences and a period of ban from driving a motor vehicle depending on the number of offences committed by an offender.

Grave traffic offences include driving in the opposite direction on motorway, fast access roads, exceeding the speed limit in built-up areas by more than 50 km/h, passing through a red light, refusing to take an alcohol test, driving with more than a 1.5 g/kg alcohol blood level or under the influence of narcotics, driving without a licence.

Other offences include driving without a seat belt, use of mobile phone while driving, leaving the site of an accident and the like.

The bill proposes the temporary confiscation of a vehicle for repeated gross offenders, Božinović said underscoring that temporarily means until the case is heard before a court which has to be within 15 days and would apply to drivers who have committed two previous grave offences.

A novelty is that drivers have to keep a safe distance between vehicles on motorways as well as the obligation to have a camera recording a driver when taking a driver's test for a licence in order to increase transparency and quality of driving tests.

Considering the controversy in public over the proposal for compulsory medical check-ups for elderly drivers when extending their licence and that an agreement has not been reached with pensioners' representatives, it is important to say that until a final draft of the bill is prepared, negotiations will continue and an additional analysis will be conducted with Health Ministry officials and a regulation will be adopted that will improve safety on the roads while taking account that it does not pose a too large financial burden for the elderly, Božinović said.

The government today sent to parliament a bill of amendments to the legislation of the police powers and jurisdiction.

More news on driving in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Interior Minister Defends Police Action in Minister Žalac Cases

ZAGREB, March 22, 2019 - Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović said on Thursday that "police acted in line with the law" in the case of a recent traffic accident involving Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Gabrijela Žalac and a traffic accident involving her close friend Marijana Obradović.

"With regard to the traffic accident of several weeks ago, police did all they should have done, following professional rules. After a police investigation, the case is now in the hands of prosecutorial authorities. My answer is similar as regards the other case, too," Božinović told reporters.

Speaking of the accident involving Žalac's friend, Božinović said: "As for the difference between a crime and a misdemeanour, it lies in the gravity of injuries. A lighter injury means a misdemeanour charge and a more serious injury means a criminal charge. The police are not the ones to determine the severity of injuries," said the minister.

On March 9, Žalac hit with her car a 10-year-old girl who was crossing the street in the eastern town of Vinkovci. She was driving with an expired driver's licence. After the accident, misdemeanour charges were pressed against the minister. The girl suffered a fracture to the lower leg and is recovering well.

Žalac's friend Marijana Obradović in late December 2018, while driving under the influence of alcohol, swerved off the road in the eastern municipality of Jakšić, hitting a 35-year-old woman who was walking on the pavement, after which she drove off.

Požega-Slavonia County police said in a statement that they did not press criminal charges against Obradović but rather misdemeanour charges because medical staff had described the injuries sustained by the 35-year-old as light.

More news about regional development and EU funds minister Žalac and her ever-growing list of scandals can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 15 March 2019

NGOs Accuse Croatian Police of Torture and Humiliation of Refugees

ZAGREB, March 15, 2019 - Croatian non-governmental organisations the Centre for Peace Studies (CMS) and Are You Syrious (AYS) issued a joint statement on Thursday drawing attention to three dangerous aspects of Croatian police behaviour: dehumanisation, torture and humiliation of refugees, rhetorical legalisation of violence, and discrediting organisations that warn of such actions.

The statement was prompted by Interior Minister Davor Božinović's response to the international human right watchdog Amnesty International's report on violence and abuse experienced by refugees and migrants along the Balkan route.

Božinović said in his response that Croatia was successfully controlling and protecting its border in line with international and national law and that his ministry's priority was to ensure legal and sustainable migration in cooperation with neighbouring countries for the purpose of maintaining security.

The CMS and AYS accused Božinović of selectively interpreting legal provisions in an attempt to give the impression that police actions are legal when in fact they violate basic human rights.

"The Ministry of the Interior is actively trying to silence citizens who question the legality of some of the police actions, portraying the CMS and AYS as organisations associated with illegal migration," the two NGOs said in their statement.

"After footage from Border Violence Monitoring clearly showed Croatian police driving refugees away from Croatia, pushing around exhausted individuals, or footage of Croatian police forcing refugees on their knees to chant 'Dinamo Zagreb!' and 'For the homeland ready!', and after numerous medical documents about fractures and serious injuries suffered by refugees during their encounters with police truncheons on the border, it is unacceptable and utterly disgusting to claim that Croatian police do not use force and power against them," the statement said.

Commenting on Božinović's statement that all of the 202 complaints of violations of refugees' human rights received by the ministry were unfounded, the two NGOs said that they themselves had made some of those complaints, categorically stating that their complaints contained precise information on the times and places where Croatian police found refugees and expelled them by force back to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The CMS and AYS noted that Croatia had so far been criticised by four international organisations over violent expulsions of refugees and migrants to Bosnia and Herzegovina, namely by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Human Rights Watch, the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, and most recently by Amnesty International. They also recalled criticisms made at a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg late last year.

The international organisations reported thousands of documented cases of illegal expulsions of refugees and migrants from Croatia since 2016. The UNHCR said that last year at least 5,537 persons were forcibly returned to Serbia, while according to some indicators the number of illegal expulsions to Bosnia and Herzegovina could be twice as high, the CMS and AYS said.

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

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Croatian Police Union Seeks Director's Resignation over Pressure on Journalist

ZAGREB, March 7, 2019 - A union of Croatian police officers on Wednesday sent a letter to Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović, asking him to replace the national police director, Nikola Milina, over a case involving reporter Đurđica Klancir in which, the union says, police was used for political purposes.

Klancir, who works for the web portal, was IDed by two police officers at workplace on Tuesday and the police officers told her that they were doing so at the request of an attorney who was filing a private lawsuit against her on behalf of Sisak-Moslavina County Prefect Ivo Žinić of the HDZ party, who was suing her for slander.

The Union of Police Officers (SPS) believes that police were used for political purposes in the case, which it describes as an attack on media freedoms. The police were used as the long arm of politics to intimidate the reporter based on a request by an attorney for a local politician who is a member of the ruling party, the union said.

The politician in question can be often seen in the company of Marko Rašić, who serves as Zagreb Police Department head and used to head the Sisak-Moslavina County Police Department, the union said.

Police could have established the reporter's identity also through the Ministry of the Interior's information system, the union said, noting also that the latest amendments to the Police Act that had been drafted without the participation of any police union, would put the police entirely under the control of politics.

MOST MPs Nikola Grmoja and Ines Strenja Linić will call for the parliamentary Committee on Information, Computerisation and the Media and the Domestic Policy and National Security Committee to discuss the abuse of police powers in the case of reporter Đurđica Klancir, the party said on Wednesday.

MOST believes that this is yet another example of intimidation and attempt to control the media by those in power to prevent reporters from writing about numerous scandals.

"It is unbelievable that HDZ County Prefect Ivo Žinić sent the police to identify Đurđica Klancir. This is an unprecedented case because police don't take action on a call from a private person - in this case the attorney, who on behalf of his client, Prefect Žinić, called the police to personally go and collect information from the reporter," Nikola Grmoja, who is a member of the Media Committee said.

He believes that that could have been done based on a written request, however this government's aim is to stifle any freedom of the media and to demonstrate their power.

Strenja said that the party would submit a motion for the Domestic Policy Committee to examine the case due to justified suspicion that the police had been misused. "Public trust in institutions is already very low, and the more cases of this nature the more people are buying one-way tickets to Ireland and Germany," Strenja said.

More news on attacks on the independent media in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 22 February 2019

Police IT System Fails, Long Lines at Croatian Border Crossings

The IT system of Croatia’s Interior Ministry has failed, which has caused long lines at Croatian border crossings. Personal documents and passports also cannot be issued at police offices around the country, reports on February 22, 2019.

The police did not initially confirm the information.

According to the Bosnian media, the system for checking biometric documents at the majority of border crossings between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia has failed. Therefore, the traffic is currently suspended, and long columns of vehicles are being formed at the border crossings.

220219-Croatian Border Crossings5.png

The system failed at about 10 am this morning, and the columns of vehicles at border crossings have been getting longer ever since.

“Due to the failure of the border inspection system of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia today at 10.30 am, the traffic of persons and vehicles through international border crossings is stopped or significantly slowed down at different intervals," Sanela Dujković, the spokesperson of the Bosnian border police, said for

“Due to technical difficulties, longer waiting times are possible at most border crossings,” said the Croatian Auto Club (HAK).

At 1.40 pm, the Interior Ministry finally issued a statement about the latest events.

“The Ministry of Interior Affairs of the Republic of Croatia informs the citizens that during the day the operation of a part of the Ministry’s IT system has been interrupted, which is why certain assignments are being conducted slower than usual. The Ministry's expert services are working diligently to restore the system to being fully functional. We ask the citizens, who have found themselves at the border crossings and in the Ministry’s administrative affairs offices, for understanding and patience,” they said.

The website of the Croatian Auto Club has live cams with video from some of the border crossings.

220219-Croatian Border Crossings6.png

Translated from

More news about the Ministry of Interior can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Stricter Penalties for Driving Offences in Croatia Proposed

The Ministry of the Interior has launched the public consultation process for the draft amendments to the Road Traffic Safety Act, which drastically increase the penalties for many driving offences in Croatia. For example, the changes introduce the possibility of seizure of vehicles from drivers who repeatedly commit serious crimes such as driving under the influence of alcohol or driving at speeds 50 kilometres per hour above the limit, reports Večernji List on February 21, 2019.

The fee will be increased, for example, for running the red light at intersections to up to 20,000 kuna. However, the changes also foresee an increase in penalties for less serious traffic offences. Drivers who break the rules of the right of way will have to pay a fine in the amount of between 3,000 to 7,000 kuna and will receive three negative points on their driver’s licence. Currently, the penalty is 3,000 kuna. Such drivers will also be banned from driving for a month, three months or six months, depending on how many times they have already committed the same offence.

A driver who does not stop at a pedestrian crossing with traffic lights when he or she has the red light will pay a fine of between 3,000 and 7,000 kuna; so far, the penalty was 1,000 kuna. They will also have their driving licence suspended for a period of one, three or six months, depending on how many times they have committed the offence previously. And there will also be three penalty points.

Drivers who are using the left lane on motorways although the right lane is empty will see their fines increased from 500 kuna to 2,000 kuna.

In winter, drivers must clean their frosted windscreens and remove snow from the vehicle. In addition to the snow, they will have to remove ice and water from the car. If they do not, they will pay a fine of 1,000 kuna. So far, the penalty amounted to 700 kuna.

Among other changes, the penalty for using mobile phones while driving will be increased from 500 to 1,500 kuna, and the penalty for not using the seat belt from 500 to 1,000 kuna.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Josip Bohutinski).

More news about driving in Croatia can be found in the Travel section.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Police Arrests Three Attackers on Serbian Water Polo Players

ZAGREB, February 10, 2019 - Police in the southern coastal city of Split have arrested three young men on suspicion of attacking three Serbian water polo players on the city's waterfront promenade on Saturday. Two attackers are still on the run, local police said on Sunday morning.

The police said that a club jersey that had been taken from one of the players had been found with one of the men that were brought in on Sunday morning.

The three players are members of Belgrade's Red Star Water Polo Club who had arrived in Split for a game against the local side Mornar BS, which was scheduled for 8.30pm on Saturday. The match was cancelled because of the incident.

The three players were sitting in a cafe on the Riva promenade early on Saturday afternoon when they were approached by five youths who objected to their wearing their club jerseys. The youths first demanded that they take them off and then attacked them. Two of the players, aged 25 and 26, were hit in the back, but managed to run away, while a third escaped by jumping into the sea.

Police soon arrived at the scene, the 29-year-old man was pulled from the sea and taken to the hotel where the Belgrade team were staying. He was later taken to a hospital where he was found to have suffered slight injuries to the head, temple and nose.

The Croatian government strongly condemns this attack by hooligans, and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has discussed the incident with Interior Minister Davor Božinović and Split Mayor Andro Krstulović Opara, government spokesman Marko Milić told Hina.

The attack was earlier condemned by the Croatian Water Polo Federation, the Croatian Olympic Committee and many athletes and politicians.

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić told the RTS public broadcaster on Saturday evening that his ministry would present a protest note to Croatia over the attack in Split. He said that the incident was the result of an ongoing chauvinist anti-Serbian campaign in Croatia, adding that Belgrade would formally demand that the perpetrators be brought to justice.

The Serbian Water Polo Federation and the Red Star Water Polo Club have announced that they will seek increased security measures for their clubs and national water polo team during Euro Cup matches in Croatia.

More news on the relations between Croatia and Serbia can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Police Investigating Vukovar Mayor for Posting Controversial Video

ZAGREB, January 22, 2019 - The Vukovar-Srijem County police in cooperation with the local prosecutorial authorities are establishing all the circumstances in connection with the posting of video footage on the official website of the Town of Vukovar showing several students of a local high school sitting on the stands during the Croatian anthem, the police stated on Tuesday.

Interior Minister Davor Božinović confirmed today that the police were addressing the issue of the controversial posting of the video which grabbed media attention when Mayor Ivan Penava wondered why local ethnic Serb students refused to stand for the Croatian anthem.

The minister said that the authorities would inform the public of the findings of the investigation in a timely fashion. He said that the investigation should show of the posting of the video was controversial given that children were involved in the case. "Of course, children should not be put in any political context. However, I would not prejudge any outcome, having in mind that preliminary legal opinions that differ on that matter," said the minister.

The town's official website has posted the video of ethnic Serb secondary school students who did not stand up for the Croatian anthem at a football match played in Vukovar last year

The Croatian Serb leader, Milorad Pupovac, accused Mayor Ivan Penava of violating the Children's Wellbeing Act, the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Personal Data Act and other laws, further inciting an atmosphere of violence by the posting of this video.

The ombudsperson for children's rights Helenca Pirnat Dragičević said that she had asked a police report on the same case, given that a boy from the video was recently assaulted at a bus station. The ombudwoman suspects that this was case of peer violence.

More news on the situation in Vukovar can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Mysterious Rocket Causes Alarm on the Streets of Zagreb

Photos of a mysterious “rocket system,” which can be seen on the streets of Zagreb, have been making rounds on the social networks for days. The photos show what appears to be a rocket (or a missile model) pulled by a van on a special trailer. The missile, the trailer and the van are all painted in the distinctive military olive-green colour, although neither the trailer nor the van have military license plates, reports Jutarnji List on January 17, 2019.

Citizens are confused and concerned, and no one seems to know why a rocket would be driven around Zagreb.

The unusual sight was reported from numerous locations in the city. It was first seen six days ago, and last time yesterday at Vukovar Street, near the city centre.

After the news reports and worried calls from the concerned citizens, the Zagreb Police Department has issued a statement on its website, explaining that the rocket is actually a tin model owned by a 46-year-old man from Zagreb.

"Following numerous inquiries by members of the public, concerning the van with a ‘missile’ on a trailer, the Zagreb Police Department has launched an investigation and determined that the vehicle in question is a Peugeot Boxer van, with Zagreb licence plates and a trailer. The vehicle and the trailer were found today, on January 17, at about 9 am in Sveta Nedjelja, near Zagreb. It has been established that the rocket is a tin model, owned by a 46-year-old man from Zagreb. During a conversation with the owner, it was determined that he himself made the model from a sheet of tin metal. The rocket is about 10 metres long and weighs about 200 kilograms. The goal of the project is to attract the attention of potential business partners who might want to use it for promotional purposes. No elements of any misdemeanours or crimes have been established,” announced the Zagreb Police Department in the statement.

For more news on Zagreb, visit our special section.

Translated from Jutarnji List (reported by Damjan Raknić). 

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