Saturday, 13 February 2021

Croatian Young Man Placed on Missing Persons List, "Found" in his Living Room

February 13, 2021 - An unbelievable story was told by the Croatian media today, about a 21-year-old man, who was placed on the National Missing Persons registry by the Croatian police, while he was not at all missing, and was spending time in his apartment.

The story is told by the young man's mother on her social media and then taken by some Croatian media, such as Večernji list. The mother bluntly accuses the police of sharing the fake news by their actions. Her Facebook post gives the timeline of events: the man was placed on the National Missing Persons Registry on the 7th of February after someone reported him missing (it is, it seems, still unclear who made the report itself). The mother claims that not even the most basic background check was performed before that step, because a phone call or a brief visit to the family's residence would've confirmed that the man was not, in fact, missing, and then the police would be able to go on investigating who and why made the prank-call to report him missing.

NAŠA POLICIJA ŠIRI FAKE NEWS Moj sin Grgo Ključarić je živ i zdrav, stanuje samnom na adresi koja mu piše na osobnoj...

Posted by Jelena Jindra on Thursday, February 11, 2021

What they've decided to do is place the man's photo and a lot of his personal information in the registry (and on the registry's publicly available website, where it was accessed by some media and his reported missing status was reported there. After seeing his photo and info in the media, the young man had to go to the police station (luckily, the family lives quite close to one!) to prove to the friendly officers that he was, in fact, very much accounted for. They have since removed him and his personal information from the website.

The police have confirmed that the event has happened, adding that anyone can report that someone else is missing if they're worried something might be afoul. They go on to further explain the criteria for someone to be put in the missing persons registry, however without a word of explanation why the most basic police work was not performed before acting on (presumably) a single phone call.



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Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Croatian Police Dismiss New Accusations of Violence against Migrants

ZAGREB, Oct 21, 2020 - The Croatian Interior Ministry on Wednesday dismissed new allegations of violence against migrants after The Guardian, citing the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), said that Croatian police beat and robbed migrants and mentioned a case of sexual abuse.

Alongside photos and medical reports, the newspaper carried DRC claims about numerous instances of brutality on the Bosnian-Croatian border on October 12-16.

"The testimonies collected from victims of pushbacks are horrifying," said Charlotte Slente, DRC secretary-general. "More than 75 persons in one week have all independently reported inhumane treatment, savage beatings and even sexual abuse."

The ministry said this was not the first time The Guardian and the journalist in question wrote about the alleged conduct of the Croatian police, "accusing them of various types of inhumane treatment of persons who illegally crossed the border, without providing any facts or evidence, or even basic verifiable information."

On the other hand, the ministry said, they never wrote about even one case in which Croatian police saved lives, including women and children, on inaccessible terrain in harsh winter.

The ministry said that following the latest accusations, it launched an investigation into them as its interest and goal was to remove any doubt about the conduct of Croatian police and to punish and remove possible irregularities.

Pushbacks near Siljkovaca tented settlement

According to migrants’ accounts, The Guardian said, the pushbacks occurred in Croatian territory over the border from Velika Kladusa in Bosnia, close to Siljkovaca, "a tented forest settlement of around 700 refugees and migrants."

"All of the persons interviewed by DRC bore visible injuries from beatings (bruises and cuts), as a result of alleged Croatian police violence," reads the DRC report.

According to The Guardian, "On 12 October, five Afghans, including two minors, crossed the Croatian border near the Sturlic settlement. On the same day, near Novo Selo, a uniformed police officer stopped them and then called two more officers. One of the migrants ran, and the other four were detained at a police station. Two days later they were taken to court, where they say they were to 'appear as witnesses in the case launched against the fifth member of the group - the one who escaped', who had been accused of violent behavior towards police."

"The asylum seekers told the DRC that the original officers then took them 'to some unknown location, where they were put in a van in the charge of 10 armed people," The Guardian said. "Their money was taken, their belongings torched and they were ordered to strip to their underwear. The migrants allege that they were forced to lie face down on the ground."

"One man in black was standing on the victim’s hands, preventing any movements," reads the report, adding that they "were punched, kicked, whipped and beaten" and that medical reports "confirm that migrants’ injuries are consistent with the use of a whip."

One migrant says that he was sexually assaulted by a man using a branch, The Guardian said, adding that the DRC shared its report with the European Commission, which has yet to investigate.

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Saturday, 8 August 2020

Bozinovic Announces Reform of Entire Ministry of Interior System

ZAGREB, Aug 8, 2020 - A reform of the Croatian police force is about to be launched and it will cover the entire system, with emphasis on digitalisation and faster work, Minister of the Interior Davor Bozinovic has said in an interview with Hina at the start of his second term in office.

"The reform will primarily put emphasis on the use of funds, digitalisation building on the potential shown by the Ministry of the Interior during the coronavirus crisis, and consequently faster work procedures and defining of operational procedures for police officers," said Bozinovic.

He added that the reform would connect the existing information systems with new European information systems, which, he said, would, among other things, increase internal border security.

The system of civil protection is also expected to be upgraded and a new law on civil protection is to be adopted, while staff will be rejuvenated and the issue of pensions and severance packages for police officers who meet retirement conditions will be regulated, said Bozinovic.

The purpose of the reform is to cut red tape as much as possible, enable the use of modern equipment and enabling police to focus on dealing with crime, making them more visible in the streets, in city neighbourhoods, said Bozinovic.

Asked if police would in the future film their work, Bozinovic said that that would be one of the reform moves, primarily for the sake of removing what are most often unsubstantiated accusations about police conduct towards citizens or foreigners on the state border.

Bozinovic went on to say that a reform of the Police Directorate was aimed at increasing the number of staff in police stations, with emphasis on operative staff.

The minister also announced a reform of the Ministry of the Interior's administrative affairs, to shift some of the administrative duties performed by the ministry onto local government bodies or legal entities with public authorities.

He said that he believed the Ministry of the Interior should only stay in charge of issuing citizenship certificates, weapon licences and regulating the stay of foreign nationals.

Asked if the reform would contirbute to border protection considering that entry into the Schengen area is one of the national priorities, Bozinovic said that considering migration trends, equipping border police would be one of the priorities of Croatian police as well as the entire EU in the years to come.

We will additionally enhance the technical protection of the border and in that process we count on considerable money to be absorbed from EU funds, he said.

Asked about the current situation with migrations, Bozinovic said that after a lull caused by the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, migrations had started again following the relaxation of epidemiological restrictions and restrictions on the movement of migrants outside camps in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The number of illegal entries into Croatia today is 14% higher than in the same period last year, the minister said, noting that Croatia did not expect the pressure on its borders to cease but that every day it was technically and personnel-wise better prepared to protect its borders and prevent illegal entries.

Sunday, 12 April 2020

VIDEO: Croatian Police Officers From Pula Perform #TikTokChallenge Dance

April the 12th, 2020 - As the coronavirus crisis continues to hold the global economy and public health in its grip, with apparently no end in sight until we get a vaccine or at least a drug to relieve the pressure on the world's struggling health systems, it's difficult to find much to laugh about. If the Croatian police can manage to entertain themselves in these trying times, so can you!

We're all stuck behind closed doors apart from the increasingly exciting trips ''out'' to the store or to the pharmacy, or even to do something as adventurous as fill up our cars that we now can't drive anywhere. Cabin fever is a real thing and a lot of us are feeling it, be we ''locked in'' alone or with others.

For those of us who are used to working from home and online, this transition isn't that dramatic, but for many others, especially for those feeling the unprecedented pinch caused by the coronavirus pandemic, life has turned almost entirely upside down. Unable to work, and unable to do just about anything else, there isn't a great deal to smile about for many. 

The Croatian police, who are key workers in these trying times, are busy making sure the public adhere to the rules set by the Civil Protection Headquarters, and checking the passes (propusnice) of those wanting to leave their places of registered permanent residence. Being out on the front lines trying to battle the spread of COVID-19 sounds just about as morbid as one might imagine. But it doesn't have to be...

Two Croatian police officers from the beautiful Istrian city of Pula managed to make a few people grin after they engaged in a popular TikTok challenge while donning their uniforms. The Chinese app has boomed in popularity since its creation, and what could be better to kill time during these long and boring, epidemic filled days?

Watch the video, with thanks to the Croatian Government's official website here:

Make sure to follow our dedicated section for rolling information and updates on coronavirus in Croatia.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

MUP Office Answers Tourists in Croatia On Verge of Overstaying 90 Days

March 25, 2020 - Are you a tourist in Croatia wondering if you’ll be sanctioned for overstaying your allowed 90 days? The Ministry of Interior’s (MUP) Office has an answer for all of you unsure of what to do during the coronavirus crisis. 

If you’re on a 90-day tourist visa in Croatia that is soon to run out, chances are, you’re a bit worried, especially considering you have nowhere to go with the coronavirus pandemic currently ruling the world. 

Fortunately, we have some answers, thanks to a TCN’s readers exchange with the Ministry of Interior’s office in Zagreb. 

You can find the conversation below:

TCN reader: 

To Whom It May Concern, 

Considering the spread of COVID-19, I am interested in the current status of third-country nationals who are on a tourist visa in the Republic of Croatia and also those who are currently in the process of applying for a residence and work permit, using tourist days.

The day before yesterday, 03/23/2020, I called the Division for Administrative Affairs and Citizenship on the phone number: 00 385 1 3788 193 whose contact is listed on your site and a kind woman told me that the status of the persons concerned was frozen at the moment, i.e., that their tourist days are not currently added up until a different solution is reached.

However, today an article was posted on which reads:

"We spoke to the ministries that handled immigration and they confirmed that no one was allowed to stay past their tourist visas, despite COVID-19. Staying past your tourist visa could result in fines ranging from 500 kuna 7,000 kuna, depending on the circumstances. Another risk is that you may get kicked out with nowhere to go, as they are doing in other countries. "

(source: Original article)

I would like to kindly ask you to send me an official reply on the current status of the people concerned, as well as instructions on the procedure and anything they are obliged to submit to MUP, if any, to avoid further misinformation and possible panic.

The MUP Office replied:


If a foreigner on a short stay (up to 90 days for a period of 180 days) cannot leave the Republic of Croatia promptly due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the short term residence time is exceeded, the foreigner will therefore not be sanctioned by the Foreigners Act.

We advise that the foreigner report to the police station according to the address of his / her accommodation, where the police officer will take down information about the accommodation address and contact information and instruct him / her to contact the police station before leaving the address of accommodation or leaving the Republic of Croatia so that he / she will not have any problems at the border crossing when leaving the Republic of Croatia.

Also, under Article 48, paragraph 4 of the Foreigners Act, third-country nationals who applied for a temporary residence permit or residence and work permit before the expiry of their short-term stay may remain in the Republic of Croatia until the decision on the application has been enforced.

Screenshot 2020-03-27 at 13.55.23.png

We hope this clears anything up for those of you currently stuck here during the corona era. 

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Nigerian Students Participating in World InterUniversities Championships Exiled to Bosnia!

An almost unbelievable story about a couple of Nigerian students visiting Zagreb appeared in the Bosnian media today.

[Let's preface this article by saying that no Croatian news media has thus far been able to corroborate the story, so it's possible that things aren't exactly like Bosnian Žurnal says they are, but we're sure more will be written about this in days to come.]

The story is as follows: a group of Nigerian nationals (four students and a teacher) participated in the 5th World InterUniversities Championships, which took place on the 13th - 17th of November in Pula, Croatia. 18-year old Abia Uchenna Alexandro represented his Owerri Federal Institute of Technology, playing table tennis at the competition. After the competition, the group returned to Zagreb, where they waited for their flight back home, through Istanbul. As they were in Zagreb for a day or so, they decided to take a walk around the town, which is exactly what he and Eboh Kenneth Chinedu, his colleague, did.

As soon as they entered the tram, they were stopped by the Croatian police and taken to the police station. They tried explaining who they were, and that their documents are in the hostel where they were staying. The police refused to listen to what they were saying, and they put them in a van in the middle of the night.

They drove to an unfamiliar location, where the two cops told them that they were going back to Bosnia. The two Nigerian students tried explaining that they've never set foot in Bosnia, that they arrived in Zagreb by airplane, but again, nobody listened to them. The van stopped and they pushed them out into the bushes. Eboh refused to start walking in the direction where police were directing them to, and one of the policemen told him that he would shoot if he didn't start walking.

There were other migrants being pushed back to Bosnia at the same time by the Croatian police, and they helped the two Nigerians get to the camp in Velika Kladuša.

They managed to get a hold of one of their colleagues who was still in Zagreb, to send them their documents. Their visa for Croatia expires today, Eboh told Žurnal. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) runs the camp where they are now, and they've supposedly confirmed to Žurnal that the two Nigerian students have valid visas for Croatia and that they were at the competition. [Both Abia Uchenna and Eboh Kenneth are listed as the participants at the table tennis competition at the event: table tennis schedule].

The organisers of the competition, the InterUniversities Sport Committee confirmed to Žurnal that they're aware of this case. Alberto Tanghetti from the Committee says that all 5 participants from Nigeria had valid visas. He confirms that they also sad return airplane tickets to Istanbul and then Lagos. They were recorded by Croatian television at the competition, and the police in Pula was notified that they were in Pula. He said that the organisation would try to contact Croatian police and see if there's anything they can do to help the students.

Video by Ž confirms that they were able to talk to Abia Uchenna Alexandro, one of the students, who confirmed on the phone everything Žurnal wrote about. He added that the Croatian police took all of their money, and that they're border-line hungry at the camp now, asking Index journalists to help them any way they can.

We'll update this story as more details become available.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Croatian Police Officer Finishes FBI Academy at Quantico

Kristijan Ilovača is not the first Croatian police officer to go through the training at the FBI Academy, located near Quantico, Virginia, but he has recently graduated from the 10-week program.

Elvis Sprečić writes for Večernji list about Kristijan's experiences at the most world's most prestigious law enforcement training facility, where each year around 750 trainees in three generations learn from the best FBI trainers. He's the eleventh police officer from Croatia to go to Quantico for the 10-week training, and the most famous one of them is Mario Bertina, who did great things in his police career after Quantico, going to become the head of the special police USKOK unit (PNUSKOK). 

Kristijan Ilovača starts his recollection of his weeks at the FBI academy by explaining how nothing can prepare you for how big the training complex is. The FBI Academy itself is located within the US Marine Corps Base Quantico, which covers around 250 square kilometers (for comparison, the surface area of the island of Korčula is around 270 square kilometers!). So, just the drive through what seems like a wild forest to the academy itself is the first shock. 

But even before that, when he was applying to go to Quantico, he kept being surprised by the tests he had to go through to get selected to go. The application process was handled by Croatian MUP and the American Embassy in Zagreb, and the first testing included not the assessment of his physical condition, but rather he was given a pen and paper to write an essay in English on what the virtues of a police officer are. There were several more selection rounds, a complete medical check-up and a final oral interview with people from Washington, who asked curious questions, such as would he recommend someone to become a border patrol or a canine unit officer. There was a lot of paperwork involved, of course, and an FBI attaché from Vienna helped him with that. 

He arrived at Quantico on April 1st, where he discovered he was one of the 35 international trainees among the 256-strong generation. They were divided into 5 classes, and were housed with a roommate - his was Rafael Gonzalez, a great guy from South Carolina, as Kristijan describes him, who helped him a lot with getting used to living in the States. Their every day was fully organized, there wasn't much free time, they got to choose between numerous courses (in addition to two mandatory ones, each trainee picks four). The program includes a lot of physical challenges as well, including the iconic race on the course around the Academy, which can be seen at the beginning of the Academy (the other Academy!) Award-winning movie "Silence of the Lambs", which every trainee needs to complete. However, Kristijan is especially proud of his completion of the unofficial "blue brick" challenge - he swam 36 miles (55 kilometers) during his 10 weeks at the FBI Academy, which is how far Quantico is from Washington, and each trainee who manages that gets the blue brick. In Kristijan's generation, only seventeen trainees got their blue brick. 

Kristijan says that meeting the best of the police officers from their countries and the US was the best part of the experience for him. He hopes that the prestigious program will help his ambition to use the knowledge he got there to make Croatia a better place, at a leadership position on either the national or international level within the law enforcement community. 

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Unsatisfied and Underpaid Croatian Police Ready to Strike?

There is a lot to be said about the taxes in Croatia, and how much net income is reduced when taxes and contributions are taken off it. This is a burden not only for the employee, but for the employer, who must add on an eyebrow-raising amount when paying an employee in order to make sure they get their negotiated net amount every month.

The need for a general raise in wages for all sectors, as well as the lowering of taxes, are two of the very few things almost everyone in Croatia can actually agree on, and some are making a stand and taking things into their own hands. The Croatian police included.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 27th of August, 2019, Croatia's nurses, doctors, teachers, and  police officers are not happy with the wages they're taking home every month, and they are ready to strike in order to drive their message home and finally create some change, at least that's what the Police Union announced, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary just recently.

Appearing on RTL Direct (Direkt), the one man who has been the president of the Union for all of those long twenty years, Dubravko Jagić, said that a wage increase for Croatian police officers as of January 2020 has been tentatively agreed with the Government of the Republic of Croatia. But, there is, as always - another but.

"If we don't manage to stick with that agreement, then there's always the possibility of going on strike. We would like to avoid that because it could have untold consequences and I'm sure that the government will be understanding.However, we can strike in a slightly different way from our colleagues from other ministries," said Jagić, explaining that he was referring to a white strike or an ordinary strike, and concluded that the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) had the least problem of all in organising some form of strike within a mere 24 hour period, that would cause total chaos.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Lika Entrepreneur Partners Up With Croatian Ministry of the Interior

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 27th of August, 2019, when asked what the secret of his success is, the well known Lika hospitality entrepreneur replied: "I have no objections, these are good people and they're good guests."

The most well known and successful tourism and hospitality entrepreneur from the Lika region - Željko Orešković Macola, has turned his talented hand to a new business.

To be more specific, last year, a campsite with a swimming pool and fourteen bungalows was opened, as were about twenty campsites intended for guests from all over the world.

Macola soon turned to no less than MUP (Ministry of the Interior), in whose tender he received accommodation for their border guards. Another two houses in Korenica house sixty of MUP's border guards, and next week, Macola is all set to launch a new tourist settlement located in Vranovača, near Korenica, which will also be filled up with police officers.

Macola doesn't want to talk about the numbers, as he doesn't want to bring any discomfort to his partners, who in this case are MUP.

"Oh, forget about the numbers, they pay per police officer, I don't know how much they pay exactly, but they do pay fairly," Macola told Jutarnji list briefly.

However, if his capacities are summed up, the number of MUP officers he receives can easily be reached, and soon that figure could increase to as many as 200 of them.

Police vans bring them all year long, which is why Macola, after all, went to the MUP to enter the public tender in the first place.

They got a good home in Grabovac, because they've been there almost the whole year. They spend their daily breaks in the pool and the restaurant next to it.

It was at this camp that Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović, together with the chief of police Nikola Milin, recently boasted of an operational location for coordinating the work of police forces, presenting equipment and techniques used in the daily surveillance of the state border, ie, dealing with and the detainment of illegal migrants.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Safe Tourist Season Headquarters in Zadar Reopened

The ''Safe tourist season'' headquarters in Croatia, a temporary summer headquarters set up by the police directorate, has been re-opened in Zadar.

The Headquarters co-operates with Ministry of Defence, the secret services, military intelligence, as well as with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Finance and other competent bodies, writes.

The idea is to have a single place where they can control and maintain the level of safety on the coast and at sea.

The location of the headquarters is in Zadar, which makes sense because it is located centrally on the Croatian coast, and during the height of the tourist season, all of the boats in the Adriatic are followed, as are all border crossings, as are any crimes or misdemeanors related to tourists or tourism.

It premiered last year, and it proved to be an excellent idea, so it was brought back this year. Andrija Ostović, a member of the headquarters for the implementation of the security measures during 2019's tourist season, explained that they follow just about anything that has to do with foreign nationals, whether perpetrated by them or against them, and at the same time they follow the traffic, the border crossings, and the flow of travellers.

Safety is one of the brands of tourism in Croatia, so their goal is to reduce last year's number of a bit over 7,000 crimes during one tourist season.

Minister of the Interior, Davor Božinović, explained that last year around 158 million people crossed the Croatian borders and that the Croatian police and other services are there to take care of all those people.

They also keep a close eye on the migrant situation on the Croatian borders, the illegal traffic of fishing boats, drug trafficking and other crimes, and the way they do this work has received commendations by their Italian colleagues.

The ''Safe tourist season'' headquarters is also in close contact with the fire departments along the coast, Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) and the Croatian Army. Tourism in Croatia is too valuable for anything to be left to chance!

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