Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Hajduk, Dinamo, HNS Official Statements after Torcida Motorway Clash with Police

May 24, 2022 - TCN brings the official statements of the Croatian police, Torcida, GNK Dinamo, HNK Hajduk, and HNS after the Torcida motorway clash with police on Saturday evening.

On Saturday afternoon, Dinamo Zagreb beat Hajduk 3:1 in the final match of the season. Dinamo celebrated the Croatian championship title in front of their fans at Maksimimr Stadium, as Hajduk fan group Torcida remained outside protesting a new Dinamo banner rule. Later that evening, Torcida and police clashed at the Desinec rest area along the Zagreb-Split motorway. As a result, four men sustained shotgun wounds, and 35 people were injured. Forty-two people remain in investigative custody. 

TCN brings you the official statements from each organization. 

The Croatian Police were the first to comment on the incident on Sunday (Source: HRT)

The Deputy Director-General of the General Police Security Damir Barić, the Head of the Public Order and Security Sector of the Zagreb Police Administration Davor Posilović, and the Deputy County State's Attorney in Velika Gorica Dražen Diklić spoke. They were accompanied by the Commander of the Special and Intervention Police Unit, Mario Bencek, the Head of the Organized Crime Processing Department, Midhad Arifović, and the Head of the Reporting Analytics and Public Relations Department, Marija Goatti.

"I would like to emphasize a few important facts directly related to the events at the Desinec station. Public order and peace were disturbed to a greater extent, and the police acted accordingly. As everyone knows, the Dinamo-Hajduk match was played last night. It is a high-risk event for us, and we take it seriously. We have experienced employees with extensive experience in securing such matches. The security was managed by the Chief of the Police Administration himself, so this is the highest possible level. We consider the implementation plan to be very good, and a sufficient number of police officers have been engaged. The proof is that the whole season with a series of high-risk matches was done without incidents," said Damir Barić on Sunday.

"We notice from the media that the fact that fans couldn't bring banners into the stadium is stated as a potential cause of the events in Desinac. Four days ago, the match organizer informed the fans about the entry procedure with banners. Before the game, it was necessary to bring a banner for inspection, but Hajduk fans turned a deaf ear to it and wanted to enter the stadium directly. The police are there only in the role of securing and enforcing the organizers' decisions, so it has nothing to do with the police. After the banners were not allowed in, all Hajduk fans stayed out of the stadium and, at one point, expressed a desire to go to Split. We organized a caravan. The entire route to Split was secured," he added.

"There was no indication that something like this would happen, but at one point, the fans blocked all three traffic lanes and launched an attack on police officers. Colleagues were outnumbered; there were 16 police officers and several hundred perpetrators. The attack was aggressive, using various objects, such as batons, bottles, stones, chains, fire extinguishers, and everything they found in the gas station area. When they did not calm down on the orders, the police fired several shots to call for help and as a warning to stop the attack. The fans then stopped at one point, and other forces managed to come and work on establishing public order. Several fans were involved in the attacks, but several police officers also acted differently. We are working intensively on establishing all the facts, there are many activities, and it takes time to process all the events and information. I want to emphasize various articles in the media, such as those that "Mamić's police acted last night." We find this extremely offensive, especially when we have about 20 injured employees. Last night, the police did their job to protect public order and peace and protect the lives of all. The attack was also carried out with flares, and you know what an open flame at a gas station means; imagine that there was a fire and an explosion at a gas station. The most important thing was the danger for everyone in the area," concluded the Deputy Chief of Police for General Security Barić.

Chief of the Zagreb Police Administration Marko Rašić added:

"There was nothing to indicate that something like this would happen. Until this incident, everything was in the best order; we detained about 20 people. Four police officers used firearms, three fired only into the air, and one fired 11 shots into the concrete surface. Two fans were injured after the bullets bounced off the concrete. After that, the police wanted to help the attacked colleagues, but the fans also stopped them, so they were forced to shoot. One police officer fired two bullets into the air to help colleagues surrounded at the gas station, where fans had already managed to insert a flammable torch into their vehicle. The situation was such that it was good that the police officers were not set on fire in the official vehicle. After that, help arrived, and public order and peace were established; the fans were restrained. Some fans crossed the lane that goes from the south, where the Zadar Police Department officers pushed them not to endanger their own lives and the lives of others.

Firearms injured two fans, one had severe injuries in the shin, and the other was only bruised and had minor injuries. We have information that another fan with a broken foot called us in Split today; as far as we know, he was treated and not kept for treatment, so I guess it is a minor injury. We also received information that another fan contacted the doctors; it could also be a gunshot wound, so all four of them probably have gunshot wounds. A total of 35 people were injured. The investigation ended after 11 am; more than 100 cases were processed, and further expertise will follow. So far, 43 fans have been detained, and a criminal investigation is underway; there is a suspicion that they committed the act of causing riots," said Rašić.

Torcrida came out with an official response a few hours later (Source: Torcida Split Facebook)

Hajduk's 'Torcida Split' fan club demands that Croatian state institutions carefully investigate and sanction several illegal, inhumane, and tactless actions by the Dinamo Football Club leadership and members of the Croatian police, which led to an incident in which - for the first time in history - several citizens were injured by gunshots. We warn that this case is an escalation of many years of violence and torture to which fans have been exposed for many years, very often thanks to the conspiracy of corrupt members or associates of the convicted criminal organization in football and close personnel from police structures, as well as persons from this system who at least unknowingly assist them.

Hajduk 'Torcida Split' fan club reminds us on this occasion that:

- Croatian police are obliged to secure football matches and not to 'assist their organizers' in enforcing illegal, arbitrary, and absurd restrictions when fans enter the stadium,
- Croatian police are obliged to monitor the implementation of the law, which, among other things, prescribes the obligation to match organizers to ensure the expected arrival of fans at the stadium on time,
- the Croatian police are obliged to ensure freedom of movement and freedom of expression of the opinions of Croatian citizens, as well as their dignity, and not to suppress them by their actions. Food and water and the basic physiological needs are the minimum unless the Croatian police believe that fans, for some reason, do not have the right to do so,
- the Croatian police are obliged to protect the citizens of Croatia, not to shoot at them, beat everything that shows signs of life, indiscriminately harass with tear gas, and destroy their vehicles with batons. They are obliged and paid to behave according to the law, not like a gang.

Instead, the joint action of the Zagreb Police Administration and Dinamo Administration prevented us from coming to the match yesterday. It is absurd to comment on the demands of the Dinamo management regarding the introduction of banners in the south stand of Maksimir Stadium. Still, for the sake of the public, we will present only some of their pearls. For example, the Dinamo management required that all banners measuring more than 100x200 cm not only had to be registered 48 hours before the match but also had to be brought to the stadium before it officially opened and placed on the podium (where I guess the Maksimir guards should keep them until we enter the stadium, somewhere at the end of the first half).

Furthermore, although the Zagreb Police Department is washing its hands of responsibility in this case, the time of arrival at Maksimir Stadium depends exclusively on the assessment and actions of the police who provide the route by which visiting fans are transported to the stadium and decides when that column of fans will leave under police escort from the toll booths in Lučko. It does not depend on Torcida when they come to the visiting tribune of Maksimir Stadium but on the police. By its actions, the Zagreb Police Department only gave the Dinamo management a reason to justify why it forbids us to bring banners and other fan props to the stadium, acting in this case as an extended arm of the Dinamo management. Since the Dinamo management is controlled from Medjugorje, it is evident in what rhythm the Zagreb Police Department is dancing.

After all, we saw the same scenario years earlier, when the same club created illegal and completely unfounded 'blacklists' of fans who were prevented from accessing the stadium, in which police officers also assisted them on Zdravko Mamić's official and unofficial payroll.

After refusing to enter the stadium in their rhythm and according to their rules, every entrance to the gas station on the highway was blocked by the police. No one from the police considered it necessary to give information when they would allow us to stop at a gas station or rest area. Although the whole day, according to the police, was fair and without incidents, instead of talking to the fans, the police chose bans, and water, food, and drink for more than a thousand and a half of them was to be provided upon arrival in Split, I guess. As if it was not enough to keep them hungry, thirsty, and without basic human and hygienic conditions for more than five hours.

They reacted to the justified revolt with violence and the use of firearms in a way that the competent institutions are obliged to announce.

The random shooting and firing of dozens of bullets at Croatian citizens who had previously been denied fundamental human rights and dignity is an unprecedented example of abuse of the police system and the culmination of the repression to which Hajduk fans have been subjected for years. So far, we have naively believed that at least they do not want to kill us physically. Unconvincing and bizarre explanations about the fans who landed at the gas station out of pure peace and the bullets that 'bounced off the floor' probably speak for themselves. It is only necessary to re-listen to the deceptions and miserable attempts to camouflage at today's police press conference. And hear a notorious lie even when it comes to basic, easily verifiable data. For example, none of the shot citizens were injured at the famous gas station but among a column of cars stopped on the highway.

It should be said that even after the situation calmed down, the treatment of fans did not change at all: on the contrary, with the arrival of police reinforcements, indiscriminate and random beatings of fans and all citizens who happened to be nearby, pulling them out of vehicles in the rain and throwing them on the floor, unreasonably destroying vehicles, tear gas terror and mass, unfounded arrests. Dozens of entirely innocent citizens were injured in this arrogant demonstration of force, many with broken arms, legs, and heads, and few dared even to report the injury. To whom, after all? And what would he get besides apprehension and reporting, perhaps a promise that the police would forgive them for beating them?

There are no official reports, recordings, or witnesses about all this, nor have we heard explanations from police chiefs, nor - instructed by previous experiences - do we expect investigations and sanctions of those responsible for grossly exceeding the authority of police officers. However, the Hajduk Fans Club 'Torcida Split' will never accept the attempt to limit the human rights of its members, Hajduk fans, and all Croatian citizens.

Every blow strengthens us!

Dinamo didn't wait long to make a statement after Toricda... (Source: GNK Dinamo website)

After witnessing the violence that took place last night on the A1 motorway, which Hajduk fans justify with alleged unreasonable decisions by Dinamo, we want to explain why HNK Hajduk fans did not want to enter the Dinamo - Hajduk derby match played on May 21, 2022, at Maksimir.

We signed an agreement with HNK Hajduk on the sale of tickets for our match, according to which Hajduk was to distribute 2,000 tickets for the Maksimir Stadium south stands. According to the contract, Hajduk had to submit a list of fans to whom they sold tickets 24 hours before the start of the match. They submitted that list on the day of the game - Saturday morning. There were 1397 people on the list who were sold tickets.

Furthermore, instructed by taking advantage of our hospitality in December 2021 when a choreography of one look was announced, and then after entering the stands another choreography was performed that emphasized hatred towards our club, we made instructions for visiting fans explaining everything - from general information about the opening hours of the stadium to specific information regarding the review and introduction of banners on the podium. We emphasize that the complete lie is that the introduction of banners is prohibited; there are only specific rules according to which banners can be brought into the stadium. They were indeed told when they should come to the entrance, how they should report the banners, what time, to which official e-mail address they should contact, and the like. Considering that it is below the level of official Dinamo communication to communicate with the Hajduk fan group, we sent all the instructions by e-mail on 18/05/2022 to our colleagues at HNK Hajduk. Since nothing was delivered to the e-mail until Friday, 20/05/2022, we again invited our Hajduk colleagues in writing to help influence their fans to provide us with everything we asked for. Again nothing happened, nor did they contact us. An hour and a half before the start of the match, HNK Hajduk sent an invitation to the GNK Dinamo security commissioner, during which he was informed that Torcida had not reported any of the banners and that they were bringing larger banners, drums, and other fan props. At that moment, they received an answer from us that they would not be allowed to enter the fan props because they did not report them according to the instructions. At the entrance to the south stands, the Dinamo representative spoke with Torcida's lawyer, who did not introduce himself in person and who told him orally that Dinamo was right in this decision. Arriving at the stadium entrance, fans who had tickets were invited to enter the stadium without unregistered banners, but they refused. After a while, they peacefully left the area in front of Maksimir Stadium. 

We remind the public that the same play was performed in 2014 when Hajduk players refused to play a match against Dinamo because we did not want to sell tickets to high-risk Hajduk fans, according to criteria established by the police, following the Law on Prevention of Disorders at Sports Competitions. Unfortunately, less than six months later, Hajduk sold tickets to their fans according to these criteria, which is why they did not play the game at Maksimir, and they still do today.

After taking advantage of our correctness in December 2021, attacking a bus with our players, and a convoy with our fans in March 2022, it was time to say ENOUGH - enough of the violence Torcida carries out in its actions. You can do it all over Croatia - Koprivnica, Osijek, Rijeka, or Šibenik, but in Zagreb and at Maksimir Stadium, you will not. Follow the rules or watch the match from Borongaj. It's all the same to us. 

And so did Hajduk on Sunday evening (Source Gol.hr)

HNK Hajduk condemns all violence. After last night's unfortunate events and scenes in which several people were injured in a clash between fans and the police, we call on everyone in Croatian football for reason, dignity, and peace.

We are sorry to have been deprived yesterday of the energy and support our fans have given us throughout the season. Still, we understand that this is the culmination of all the discriminatory decisions that have been going to the detriment of our fans in away games for years.

We believe that the real problems and causes that led to the unwanted consequences and almost to the tragic outcome must be clearly detected. Hajduk is ready to help all social actors who want a real solution to this problem.

On Thursday, Poljud will be the big sports stage and the final gathering of the exciting season with the Croatian Football Cup final. We invite everyone to join us in Split and that we all enjoy the spectacle and emotions that only Hajduk and Poljud can offer.

From now on, we are entirely focused on preparing for the final, and just like the entire Croatian public, we are waiting for answers.

HNS finally made a statement on Tuesday (Source: HNS website)

The Croatian Football Federation strongly condemns all forms of violence, in and out of stadiums. A responsible organization will continue to systematically and resolutely carry out activities to eradicate any inappropriate behavior from football.

We are saddened by the incident on Saturday on the A1 motorway near the "Desinec" rest area during the caravan of HNK Hajduk fans from Zagreb to Split. The Croatian Football Federation wishes all the wounded and injured, including 20 police officers, a successful and complete recovery.

As the incident took place far from the football stadium, i.e., outside the jurisdiction of the Federation, HNS did not have all the information in addition to that published in the media, which is why it was in no hurry to appear in public.

However, HNS has been actively participating in the entire process since Saturday night and is in direct contact with HNK Hajduk, GNK Dinamo, and the Croatian Police Directorate. HNS calls all parties involved to open and constructive cooperation to calm tensions.

To that end, the Federation invited the leaders of Hajduk and Dinamo and representatives of the Police Directorate to a meeting on Friday, May 27, at the HNS headquarters. The Federation will be an active partner to clubs and the Croatian Police in creating an atmosphere of dialogue, which we see as the best way to solve all existing challenges.

The efforts of HNS so far have resulted in a significant reduction in inappropriate and punishable behavior of fans in the Croatia national team matches, and a positive trend was visible in the just-concluded HT First League season. Therefore, we are convinced that the upcoming football matches - the Cup final and the Croatia national team matches against Austria and France - will be in a positive atmosphere as we have witnessed in recent years.

The Federation will continue to act proactively - by organizing security conferences, the work of the Security Commission, and programs to prevent fan violence. All HNS activities have a common desire for open communication - with clubs, the police, the judiciary, the media, and fan groups. Only by working together, with responsibility for our words and deeds, can we encourage the positive changes that the entire Croatian society expects from us.

Croatian President Zoran Milanović also commented on Tuesday (Source: HINA)

"Stadiums have to be a venue for entertainment, enjoyment, and peace, which is played according to the rules defined by politics. It's not the police in Great Britain that brought the peace but Thatcher and her cabinet. That is far too much pressure for the police.

When the government makes that decision, when it takes a pill for courage, then Torcida and BBB and the others (football fans) will act differently and with respect. That's where we have to start from," said Milanović and added that the government would have his full support in that regard.

"It is unbelievable to me that it came to the situation that the police used firearms. There is an entire range of 'riot control' means that suppresses that behavior - rubber bullets. To shoot from a revolver at people regardless of how many people were involved and how wrong they were. Who planned that? That's unthinkable. Those people could have been dead. This is a problem for the government.

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Saturday, 16 April 2022

Istrian Police Remove Explosive Near Vrsar Following Fisherman's Call

April the 16th, 2022 - Istrian police have pulled an explosive device from the sea close to Vrsar after a fisherman checking his catch net alterted them to its presence below the surface.

As Morski writes, on April the 12th, Istrian police officers removed 200 pieces of small ammunition from the port of Stinjan, while not long after, in the Port of Vrsar, they acted on the report of a fisherman who found explosive devices while raising his catch net. An explosion protection officer was sent to the scene and determined that they were two artillery shells, he then seized them for their proper and safe destruction.

As for the people who voluntarily handed over their weapons to the Istrian police recently, in the area of ​Zminj, while cleaning the house of someone who had passed away, one citizen came across an automatic rifle with a magazine, 285 pieces of various types of ammunition and six shell casings. In the City of Pula, someone found a hand grenade from World War II while cleaning out their yard, while in Pazin, a woman handed over an air rifle to the Istrian police force.

The Istrian Police Administration continues to call on people living across Istria County to make their lives safer and to get rid of any weapons they have without facing any punishment or sanctions.

All people who illegally possess weapons, ammunition or mines and explosives can call their nearest police station completely anonymously in order to hand over or disable such means without facing any further legal action. No misdemeanor or criminal proceedings shall be instituted against those persons who voluntarily surrender such weapons or other means, if they surrender their weapons themselves, before the police begin to conduct reconnaissance operations.

It is also important to emphasize that people must not bring these weapons in person to the police station or administrations, in order to avoid their activation and unwanted injury, but to inform the police by calling the number 192, after which professional and trained police officers will come to your home to collect these weapons.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Thursday, 14 April 2022

Croats Trust Police and Army the Most, the EU More than Their Government

April 14, 2022 - Croatian citizens have the greatest trust in the army and police, according to a survey of political scientists for whom data have been collected for more than two decades. Croats trust the European Union more than their own government.

While citizens of organized and developed EU member states have high trust in the institutions of their countries, Croatian citizens have the greatest trust in the army and police. Croats trust the Church more than NGOs and, for many perhaps unexpectedly, trust the EU more than Croatian public administration, reports tportal.hr. This is shown by the research "Stability and/or change? Trust in institutions in Croatia from 1999 to 2020." by political scientist Kosta Bovan from the Faculty of Political Science in Zagreb and Nikola Baketa from the Institute for Social Research in Zagreb, published in the scientific journal Revija za sociologiju.

They analyzed data collected in surveys in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2020, conducted by the Faculty of Political Science in Zagreb, in which citizens were asked to 1 to 5 assess the degree of trust in political and social institutions.

It turned out that the army and the police enjoy the most stable trust of the citizens.

Thus, in 1999, citizens' trust in the army was rated at 3.64, and in 2020 at 3.62, while trust in the police in the same period reached 3.15 and 3.22, respectively. Trust in political parties in 2020 was 1.89, and in 1999 at least 2.52.

While the trust in the Parliament in 1999 was 3.15, in 2020 it dropped to barely 2.03. The situation is similar to the decline in confidence in the Government, in 1999 it received a score of 2.97, and in 2020 2.19. NGOs cannot boast of trust either, because in 2020 the trust in them was rated at 2.41, and in 1999 it was 2.82.

The Church enjoys greater trust than non-governmental organizations, in which the trust of citizens was 2.75 in 2020 and 3.36 in 1999. Croats' trust in trade unions in 2020 was lower (2.27) than in the media (2.45), although neither of them can be satisfied because from 1999 to 2020, trust in them fell.

Croats trust the EU more (2.72) than the Croatian public administration, which in 2020 was barely 2.19. Confidence in the courts is even lower, so in 2020 it was 2.04, while in 1999 it was still 2.90.

Political scientists conclude that the analysis showed that in the period from 1999 to 2020, citizens' trust in representative institutions decreased, which suggests the alienation of citizens from these institutions and poses a problem for the functioning of representative democracy in Croatia while trust in security institutions, army, and police extremely stable, wrote Večernji list journalist Dijana Jurasić.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 13 March 2022

Croatian Drivers Accumulated More than a Billion Kuna in Fines in One Year

March 13, 2022 - Croatian drivers were responsible for more than 1 billion kuna in fines for traffic violations in just 12 months last year. Although there is a decrease in the total number of drivers cited, there is an increase in those who violate the rules for driving under the influence.

More precisely, if we managed to collect all these fines, we would receive 1,133,906,000 kuna for the state budget only from violations caught by police cameras and radars, or from cases in which traffic police officers found drivers violating traffic rules, reports Večernji List.

This amount does not include offenses that preceded traffic accidents. When we state the amount that should be poured into the state budget, we say “should”, because it is likely that about 70 percent of printed misdemeanor warrants will be collected, given that our legal system allows for various manipulation options.

Procrastination and the possibility of intentional "storage in the drawer" have recently been addressed by the Ministry of the Interior by centralizing the sending of notifications of violations, but dragging through the courts is still a pain in our system.

A total of 280,531 Croatian drivers were caught speeding last year, according to the records of the Ministry of the Interior. Depending on the speed achieved, their sins are differently "severe" and, accordingly, the penalties. However, if these fines were actually collected from speeding drivers, they would bring together as much as HRK 386,598,200. There were 5.4 percent fewer of them last year than the year before, but there are still far more of them than drunk and drugged behind the wheel, and the penalties for speeding offenses are in line with the seriousness of the crime itself. Thus, for example, for driving at a speed that is more than 50 km/h higher than allowed, you can earn a fine of up to 20,000 kuna, and the same awaits drivers who have tested the speed limit of cars in public transport.

These two categories of drivers, in addition to drunk and drugged, should - due to the way they endanger themselves and other road users - be subjected to psychiatric expertise, and together based on last year's violations, only the fastest drivers in city traffic (more than 50 km/h above the limit) and those caught at the vehicle limit should have paid HRK 32,145,000 into the budget.

With a total amount of HRK 250,601,700, DUI drivers follow the footsteps of speeding drivers. We are of the opinion that in this category - as well as in the highest categories of speeding - there should be no possibility of evasion from paying the fine, writes Sandra Mikulčić.

Driving under the influence of alcohol, or under the influence of drugs, is considered one of the greatest driving sins, for which even the most severe punishment is not severe enough. For a driver who consciously sits behind the wheel in a state in which he can neither perceive the situation on the road nor control the car he is driving, it is believed that he is not counted, so as such - with a high fine - as the police department should take his driver's license for a long time.

Seriously fast and drunk drivers are followed by those who believe that they can drive without passing the driving test. They should also be deprived of all HRK 98,595,000, down to the last coin, as well as those who drive a vehicle while their driver's license has been revoked (a total of HRK 52,065,000), who do not respect the red light (a total of HRK 19,130,000) or drive in the opposite direction HRK 14,161,000). Thanks to the number of offenses (46,251 drivers), the total amount of fines for using mobile phones while driving is serious, since last year they have accumulated HRK 46,251,000 in fines.

Just a little above the limit

On the other side of the scale are Croatian drivers who did not earn a misdemeanor report by arrogant and reckless violation of regulations, but simply - they were unlucky. For example, it was too late to change lanes. They did not correctly assess whether they were allowed to park somewhere or not. Somewhere we classify the most numerous category of speed offenders - those who are caught driving in the settlement at a speed of 10-20 km/h above the limit. However, a total of 101,865 of them earned HRK 50,932,500 in fines. While this may not seem like much to many, not wearing a seat belt (and such a report was written by police officers 77,833 times last year) is a serious threat to safety. To explain, in this category are Croatian drivers who have not tied themselves up and gambled with their own lives, but also those who have not transported children safely.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 13 January 2022

Police Reorganisation to Downsize Leadership Positions

ZAGREB, 13 Jan 2022 - The government on Thursday endorsed the reorganization of the Interior Ministry based on which the number of leadership positions in the General Police Directorate, police departments, and stations will be cut by 638 and the number of divisions by 115.

At today's meeting, the government amended a decree on the internal structure of the Interior Ministry in order to reorganize the police in a functional way.

Security challenges are increasingly complex and demanding due to new types of crime, which require the police to constantly adapt, Minister Davor Božinović said.

Murders and robberies down, organized crime up

According to preliminary indicators for 2021, murders were down by 16.7% on the year and all were solved, robberies were down by 10.2%, and grand theft by 13.6%, he said. On the other hand, organized crime was up by 11.6% and human trafficking by 37.1%.

He said 889 traffickers were arrested, almost 200 more than the year before, 69.5% more corruption crimes were reported, and 100 criminal complaints were filed for war crimes, 100% more than in 2020.

Speaking of drug seizures, Božinović mentioned 1.1 tonnes of marijuana, 745 kilos of cocaine, 257 kilos of heroin, and 367 kilos of synthetic drugs. He congratulated the Dubrovnik police on the seizure of more than 60 kilos of cocaine and 220 kilos of heroin.

"In order to keep and improve such results, we must be aware that only an adaptable system can deal with the challenges of the future, so our intention is for police organization to follow the real security needs of local communities."

More people at the operational level, less in administration

The reorganization focuses on increasing police operation at all levels, higher visibility in the streets, more people in operations, and less in administration, the minister said.

He said this was the first integral reorganization of the General Police Directorate before Croatia joined the Schengen Area.

An important part of the reorganization is increasing the efficacy of special and riot police in high-risk crises such as terror threats, hostage situations, and migration crises, Božinović said.

The minister said the reorganization did not mean that citizens would lose any of the services they had had until now and that there would be no new hiring, as a result of which HRK 1.6 million would be saved.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 10 January 2022

Disappearances of 24,000 Persons Reported in Last 23 Years in Croatia

ZAGREB, 10 Jan 2022 - In the past two decades, 24,000 people have been reported to have disappeared in Croatia, and in most cases, it has been about leaving one's home or about teenagers running away from home, the Večernji List daily reported on Monday.

Croatia's National Registry of Disappeared or Missing Persons, whose acronym in Croatia is NENO, contains profiles of the missing and the Ministry of the Interior registers all the reports about the disappearances.

In the last 12 months, the NENO public registry, which was established 10 years ago, has included the profiles of 94 persons who went missing.

The registry was designed by the authorities after the case of 17-year-old girl Antonia Bilić, whose body was found after an 18-month-long search since her disappearance had been reported in June 2011. During the investigation and the court trial, it was established that a truck driver, Dragan Paravinja, killed her, and he was sentenced to 40 years for this crime.

Since its establishment, the NENO registry has published data about 2,761 persons who have gone missing. In most cases, missing persons have been found.

According to the interior ministry's data, over the last 23 years, the disappearances of 24,000 people have been reported.

In some cases, people went missing during trekking, walking on river banks, or at sea, however, in most cases, the reports concerned runaways from families or homes, the daily newspaper said.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 10 January 2022

Croatian Police En Route to Belgrade to Help in Search for Missing Youth, PM Says

ZAGREB, 10 Jan 2022 - Croatian police representatives are en route to Belgrade to help in the search for Matej Periš of Split, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday.

"I asked the interior minister to send a team of Croatian police representatives to Belgrade. They are en route today," he told the press.

Periš, 27, went missing in the early hours of 31 December after coming out of a nightclub in Serbia's capital, where he came with a group of friends to spend New Year's Eve. He was last seen on surveillance camera footage running around the city.

Plenković thanked the Serbian police for their efforts to date and everyone participating in the search. He said, "it's key that Mr. Periš's family, as well as the entire Croatian public, get the full story" of what happened to the young man.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Croatian, Serbian Police Cooperate in Search for Missing Young Man from Split

ZAGREB, 4 Jan 2021 - The police in Croatia's southern Split-Dalmatia County on Tuesday confirmed that they were cooperating with Serbian police in the search for 27-year-old Matej Periš from Split, who went missing in Belgrade in the night between 31 December and 1 January. 

"The search and work on collecting information are underway," the county police said.

According to a police report, Matej Periš was last seen at 2.30 am on 31 December at Belgrade's Gotik nightclub, where he was with his six friends with whom he had arrived in Belgrade for New Year's Eve.

Police have been looking for him for five days.

Serbian media outlets have published a large amount of surveillance camera footage that Periš's father claims show his son.

Boats have been searching the River Sava, where the Gotik nightclub is located, for several days and today they were joined by divers.

The young man's father, Nenad Periš, is in Belgrade, cooperating with police and waiting for news about his son.

According to media reports, Matej's friends returned to Croatia on Monday night.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said on Monday that police have an idea as to what happened to Matej, expressing hope that the young man will be found.

Without revealing details, Vučić said that police will go public with information on the case.

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Monday, 8 November 2021

Three Danish Nationals Charged With Illegal Entry Into Croatia From BiH

ZAGREB, 8 Nov, 2021 - The Croatian police in Cetingrad have filed misdemeanour charges against three Danish nationals who illegally crossed the border to enter Croatia from Bosnia and Herzegovina where they had left their vehicle and recording equipment.

The police reported that during regular supervision of the border, at about 21.50 hours on Sunday evening they came across two men and woman crossing the border at a location where there is no border crossing and that they had recording equipment with them."

The three were taken to the local police station and it was determined that they had come through Bosnia and Herzegovina to the border with Croatia and then crossed the border on foot.

Misdmeanour charges have been filed against the three perpetrators.

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Monday, 18 October 2021

Croatian Police Burn Over 2 Tonnes of Narcotics

ZAGREB, 18 Oct 2021 - More than two tonnes of narcotics seized in police operations was burnt in a factory in the eastern town of Našice on Monday, including two tonnes of marijuana and hashish, 28 kilos of amphetamines, 15 kilos of cocaine, and 12 kilos of heroin, with a street value of about €9.5 million.

Interior Minister Davor Božinović said that the amount of drugs seized was proof of good cooperation between relevant state authorities. He said that drug abuse was a global problem, especially in Europe which has become the main market for some types of drugs, notably cocaine.

"The fact that this is the second drug incineration this year shows the magnitude of the challenge we are all facing. The illegal market is very large, there are many interests of criminal groups, and our job is to be as efficient as possible," Božinović said.

"The present campaign by criminal groups is the result of the opening of communications that were closed for a while due to the pandemic," he added.

Božinović said that the government's goal was to increase prevention and "lead as many young people as possible, especially those in their formative years, away from this evil."

Over the past ten years, Croatia has incinerated over 20 tonnes of seized narcotics. About 500 kilos of cocaine was incinerated in July this year.

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